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Mid-Level Organizer Of Malheur Refuge Occupation Pleads Guilty

<p>Joseph O'Shaughnessy</p>

Joseph O'Shaughnessy

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupier Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy has become the tenth defendant to plead guilty for his role in the January takeover near Burns.

O’Shaughnessy, 44, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to impede federal workers at the wildlife refuge through threats or intimidation.

Federal prosecutors described O’Shaughnessy as a mid-level organizer of the occupation in Oregon. They also say he participated in a 2014 standoff at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.

As part of a pending plea agreement in the Nevada case, O'Shaughnessy was required to plead guilty in Oregon.

O’Shaughnessy said that he did not participate in the takeover of the refuge but supported the message and provided security for the occupiers, which he acknowledged threatened federal workers.

This charge is O'Shaughnessy's first felony, and although the conspiracy charge carries a maximum of six years in prison, he will most likely serve 12 to 18 months, according to federal prosecutor Craig Gabriel and O'Shaugnessy's attorney, Amy Baggio.

His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 2.

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.