Judge ends case against rancher Bundy, 2 sons

From left, Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne, Jeanette Finicum, widow of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, Ryan Bundy, Angela Bundy, wife of Ryan Bundy and Jamie Bundy, daughter of Ryan Bundy, walk out of a federal courthouse Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Las Vegas. Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case against Cliven Bundy, his sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and self-styled Montana militia leader Ryan Payne. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Criminal charges have been dismissed against a Nevada rancher and his sons accused of leading an armed uprising against federal authorities.

(L-R, top to bottom) Ryan Bundy, Ammon Bundy, Jeff Banta, Neil Wampler, Kenneth Medenbach, David Fry and Shawna Cox. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ruled Monday in Las Vegas that federal prosecutors acted with willful disregard for constitutional due process rights of 71-year-old Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

The judge last month declared a mistrial after a month of proceedings for the same reasons.

Navarro severely criticized prosecutors for failing to properly turn over evidence to their lawyers.

The collapse of the case is a stunning failure for the U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada, where 19 co-defendants were indicted in early 2016 on charges including conspiracy, obstruction and threats and assault of federal agents in the April 2014 standoff outside Bunkerville.

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8 a.m.

A decision is due in Las Vegas whether to end the criminal prosecution of a Nevada rancher and followers accused of leading an armed uprising against federal authorities.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro’s ruling on Monday comes after she declared a mistrial last month in proceedings against 71-year-old Cliven Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne.

The judge signaled at that time that she might dismiss the case outright.

Navarro severely criticized prosecutors for what she called “willful” violations of due process rights of defendants, including failing to properly turn over evidence to their lawyers.

Her decision is sure to reverberate among states’ rights advocates in the Western U.S., where the federal government controls vast lands that some people want to protect and others want used for grazing, mining and oil and gas drilling.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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