Bundy Ranch standoff trial ends with no guilty verdicts

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Dwayn Ehmer with the Bundy camp greets the media on this 11th day of the occupation at the Muhleur National Wildlife Refuge just before an expected media briefing

LAS VEGAS – A federal jury in Las Vegas refused to convict four accused gunmen in a 2014 standoff with federal authorities near the Bundy Ranch, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, NV.

Tuesday’s verdict is a stunning setback to federal prosecutors.

The Associated Press reports the jury acquitted Ricky Lovelian and Steven Stewart of ten charges against them.  Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered them freed immediately.

Defendants Scott Drexler and Eric Parker were acquitted of most charges against them.  The jury did not reach verdicts on four charges against Parker and two against Drexler.  The judge will decide whether to free them Wednesday, after prosecutors decide whether or not to try them again, the AP reported.

All four men faced 10 charges including conspiracy, interstate travel in aid of extortion, weapons possession and assault, and threatening a federal officer.  The charges carried a possible sentence of more than 100 years in prison.

The men were among 19 arrested in early 2016.  The standoff began two years earlier, when federal authorities attempted to round up the Cliven Bundy family’s cattle from public land after Bundy refused to pay grazing fees.