Cliven Bundy Indicted on 16 Felony Charges

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on February 23, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Nevada rancher involved in a 2014 standoff with federal rangers over cattle grazing has been indicted on 16 felony charges. Cliven Bundy, his sons Ryan and Ammon, and two other associates face federal conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, and obstruction of justice charges, among other offenses.

The indictments stem from an armed-standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents over Bundy's refusal to pay grazing fees to the BLM. The standoff gained national media attention and sparked support from militia members and states' rights groups.

Cattle Call of Charges

Cliven and friends sure got their money's worth. The federal grand jury indictment includes:

  • 1 count of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States.
  • 1 count of conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer.
  • 4 counts of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.
  • 2 counts of assault on a federal officer.
  • 2 counts of threatening a federal law enforcement officer.
  • 3 counts of obstruction of the due administration of justice.
  • 2 counts of interference with interstate commerce by extortion.
  • 1 count of interstate travel in aid of extortion.

The Department of Justice will also seek five counts of criminal forfeiture, meaning if Bundy were convicted he would forfeit property derived from the proceeds of the crimes totaling an estimated $3 million. Bundy allegedly hasn't paid federal grazing fees since 1993.

This Land Is Our Land

The Bureau of Land Management oversees almost 250 million acres of public land throughout the west. While the land essentially belongs to the public, the BLM is tasked with sustaining "the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." The BLM regulates cattle grazing on its land under the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, which allows the federal government to charge grazing fees for cattle on federal land.

Bundy has said that he does not recognize the federal police power over the "sovereign state of Nevada" nor does he recognize the federal court's jurisdiction in his case. That didn't stop him, however, from requesting a court-appointed attorney at his first court appearance. He remains in federal custody awaiting trial.

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