Now that Ammon Bundy, his brother, and the other co-defendants (nicknamed, the “Bundys“) involved in the destruction and occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge have been set for trial, a jury must now decide whether the defendant’s actions and intent amounted to a crime. Several defendants have already pleaded not guilty to the federal charge of conspiring to impede U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents from doing their job at the refuge through intimidation, threats, or force. Five of the seven are also charged with possession of firearms in a federal facility. Another two face an additional count of government property theft.
Legal experts have been closely watching this case because prosecutors must put to rest the crazy constitutional arguments the defendants have come up with. The trial in Portland’s downtown federal courthouse is expected to last more than two months. In order to convict the Bundy’s prosecutors must prove that two or more defendants conspired to keep federal employees from carrying out their work at the refuge by threat and intimidation charge, a federal intimidation charge. District Judge Anna Brown has already told potential jurors that the case is “all about mental state.” This means they can only be found guilty if prosecutors prove defendant’s criminal intentions. It is reported prosecutors will use defendant’s statements on social media, videos, and news conferences as evidence.
Mens Rea and Actus Reas: The Two Elements of a Crime