SO MUCH FOR THE COOL PROFESSIONALISM OF FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT: Bundy mistrial highlights why right distrusts the feds.
As Washington conservatives question whether partisan FBI officials working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have stacked the deck against President Donald Trump, a criminal case in Las Vegas points to the sort of federal prosecutorial abuses that give the right cause for paranoia.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the infamous 2014 Bunkerville standoff case against rancher Cliven Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and co-defendant Ryan Payne, on the grounds that federal prosecutors improperly withheld evidence. . . .
Navarro’s decision apparently was a reflection on federal officials. It follows release of a memo by BLM investigator Larry Wooten that described “a widespread pattern of bad judgment, lack of discipline, incredible bias, unprofessionalism and misconduct, as well as likely policy, ethical and legal violations among senior and supervisory staff” in the BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.
Wooten wrote that he had seen “excessive force,” described officers grinding Bundy’s son Dave’s face in gravel and opined that federal officials were intent on commanding “the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale and militaristic cattle impound possible.”
In an apparently partisan reference that used a term Hillary Clinton designated for Trump supporters, Wooten wrote that a federal prosecutor said, “Let’s get these ‘shall we say Deplorables.’”
(Likewise FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked on Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, shared texts in which they called Trump a “loathsome human.” Mueller removed Strzok after he learned of the texts.)
Wooten also wrote that the Bundy case “closely mirrors” the circumstances behind the trial of former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.
In 2008, federal prosecutors indicted Stevens, a Republican senator, for failing to report that an oil contractor had paid for renovations on his Alaska cabin. A jury convicted Stevens, who then lost a re-election bid.
Only later did the case fall apart after a Department of Justice probe found prosecutors had withheld exculpatory evidence. Attorney General Eric Holder, who inherited the case after President Barack Obama won the White House, asked the courts to throw out the conviction.
Remember this when people talk about the patriotic, nonpartisan professional civil servants at the DOJ.