Bundy Supporters Rally Outside Federal Courthouse As Jury Deliberates
Jurors in the Malheur refuge trial deliberated for a second day without having reached a verdict.
Outside the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Portland on Monday, a group of occupation supporters — and some of the defendants in the case — gathered to wave American flags and make signs.
John Lamb stood in a light rain on the corner of SW Main Street and 3rd Avenue, roasting hotdogs on grill.
“We’re waiting on a deliberation to get an answer,” the Bozeman, Montana, man said.
Deliberations began last Thursday before jurors left for the long weekend.
Federal prosecutors have charged occupation leader Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five others with conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur refuge through force, threats and intimidation. Some defendants have also been charged with theft of government property and carrying a firearm in a federal facility.
Outside the courthouse stood a half-dozen American flags and a red sign instructing the jury to ignore the law if they disagree with it — a message encouraging jury nullification.
Lamb arrived in Portland Sept. 9, which he quickly added was exactly 44 days ago.
During the trial, Lamb was in courtroom 9A almost every day, dressed in a blue jail scrub T-shirt — a symbol of his solidarity with occupation leader Ammon Bundy. Shortly after the trial began, Bundy stopped changing and wore his jail scrubs during court. Lamb and co-defendant Neil Wampler, who is not in custody, followed suit.
“We’re not going anywhere,” Lamb said. “We’re going to get a verdict and whichever way it turns or goes, we’re going to still be here and go to Nevada next. Go down there and fight down there for them. No matter if we get a guilty here, I’m still going there.”
Near a man handing out free pocket Constitutions in Chapman Square, defendants Shawna Cox, Jeff Banta and Duane Ehmer also stood in support.
During the occupation, Ehmer was well known for riding his horse “Hellboy” around the Malheur refuge.
On Monday, Ehmer was helping shoe a different horse, “Lady Liberty.”
During the barbecue, a Honda pickup drove down SW 3rd Avenue with a group of Bundy supporters in the bed, including Brand Nu Thornton, who sounded his curled shofar.
Thornton testified as a witness for the defense during the occupation trial. He said he was part of the initial group that took over the refuge on Jan. 2. He testified he spent about three weeks there before going home.
“Free The Bundys,” read Brian Edgin's sign, the black paint still drying.
The Puyallup, Washington, resident said the Bundys are the “victims” in the case.
“It’s a sad day in American when our own government doesn’t support the Constitution of America,” he said.
The 12 jurors are scheduled to continue their deliberations Tuesday morning.
Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting