ShareThis Page
Nation

Rancher Bundy sues judge in Nevada standoff case, seeks recusal

| Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 10:15 p.m.

LAS VEGAS — Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is suing the federal judge handling his criminal case stemming from an armed standoff with government agents, with a complaint that accuses President Obama, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and one of Reid's sons of plotting to steal Bundy's property.

Bundy lawyer Joel Hansen handed a copy of the lawsuit to U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro in open court in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and he told her that because she's a named defendant, she should remove herself from Bundy's case.

The judge responded that case law does not let a defendant form such a scenario.

But Navarro invited Hansen to try to identify whether her work as a prosecutor in the Clark County District Attorney's Office before she was nominated to the federal bench created for her a conflict in the Bundy case. She set a May 25 date to rule whether she'll step aside.

Hansen said that Navarro is beholden to Reid because the then-Senate Democratic majority leader recommended her for the judgeship. Obama nominated her, and she was confirmed by the Senate on a 98-0 vote in May 2010.

Hansen complained that Navarro won't let outspoken conservative attorney Larry Klayman represent Bundy in Nevada until disciplinary proceedings against Klayman are resolved in Washington.

The filing of the lawsuit came during a detention hearing at which Hansen, with Klayman in the audience, argued that Bundy's constitutional rights are being violated and that charges against the 70-year-old cattleman should be dismissed.

The judge said she'll decide that question if she remains on the case.

Bundy and 18 other defendants have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, obstruction, weapon, threats and assault charges that could get each the equivalent of life in prison for the tense gunpoint standoff in April 2014 near Bundy's ranch outside Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

In court, Hansen accused Reid of tainting public opinion against Bundy by branding him a domestic terrorist after the April 2014 standoff, which Hansen alleged followed a Reid order for the federal Bureau of Land Management to round up Bundy's cattle from the scenic Gold Butte area near his ranch in Bunkerville.

Reid owns property nearby, Hansen said, on which he wants Chinese interests to build a solar power plant. Hansen alleged that Reid's son, attorney Rory Reid, is negotiating that deal. Rory Reid declined to comment about the lawsuit.

In a statement, Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman dismissed the lawsuit as “baseless and absurd,” and repeated the “domestic terrorist” label.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me