By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
In a ruling that may ultimately harm the government’s case against 17 co-defendants facing trial over their involvement in the 2014 Bunkerville, Nevada armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other federal and State law enforcement, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, Gloria Navarro, has ruled in favor of the defense receiving an unredacted copy of the “Investigative Report of Ethical Violations and Misconduct by Bureau of Land Management Officials.” This report is said to be focussed on embroiled BLM Supervisory Special Agent Daniel P. Love (SSA Love).
Last week, defense attorneys had filed a motion to compel the Court for the release of the OIG Report on Love. The motion was joined by defendants Cliven D. Bundy, Ryan C. Bundy, Ammon E. Bundy, Ryan W. Payne, Peter T. Santilli, Jr., Melvin D. Bundy, David H. Bundy, Brian D. Cavalier, Blaine Cooper, Gerald A. Delemus, Eric J. Parker, O. Scott Drexler, Richard R. Lovelien, Steven A. Stewart, Todd C. Engel, Gregory P. Burleson, Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy, Micah L. McGuire, and Jason D. Woods. Drexler, Parker and four others are currently on trial in the first of three scheduled Nevada trials on the Bunkerville Standoff matter.
According to Nararro’s Order, on January 30, 2017, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the United States Department of Interior (DOI) posted the OIG Report to its website. The Report states that an unnamed “Supervisory Agent violated Federal ethics rules when he used his influence with Burning Man officials to obtain three sold-out tickets and special passes for his father, girlfriend, and a family friend” and “misused his BLM official vehicle when he transported his girlfriend while at the event”. Further, the OIG Report determined also that the “Supervisory Agent intervened in the hiring process by increasing the number of candidates that would be interviewed,” resulting in the hiring of the Supervisory Agent’s friend as a BLM special agent.
Navarro ruled that, if the Govt. intends to call Love as a witness, then “the Government must disclose to the defendants the OIG Report in unredacted form, if such a version exists, as well as any related documents.”
Although Love’s ethical issues related to Burning Man have nothing to do with the Bundy Bunkerville case or the defendants, a jury may see it otherwise. If his professional character and conduct itself is called into question on the stand and defense attorneys can show there is an ongoing investigation into his ethics, a jury may very well side with the defense. Whether the Govt. will indeed call Love to the stand in light of this ruling, remains to be seen.
READ THE FULL 5-PAGE RULING: 8008473-0-25808
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