The Latest: Oregon standoff jury: All 7 Malheur occupiers found NOT guilty
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A federal jury has found Ammon Bundy and his six co-defendants not guilty on all charges for taking over a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon earlier this year.
Ammon Bundy's lawyer, Marcus Mumford, is now in US Marshal custody after repeatedly yelling his client was free to go.
An alternate juror arrived at the federal courthouse in Portland earlier in the day, allowing deliberations to resume after another juror was dismissed.
U.S. District Judge Anna Brown welcomed the new juror Thursday, and reminded the remaining jurors to disregard past deliberations and start over. She told them not to discuss why the alternate was needed.
The jury was in its fourth day of deliberations when Brown stopped them Wednesday.
Led by Bundy, the defendants were part of a group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last winter. They were charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs, through force, threat or intimidation.
The defendants said they were engaging in a peaceful protest, pressing their case against federal control of Western lands and the imprisonment of two ranchers convicted of setting fires.
The jury was also deciding whether four of them are guilty of possessing a firearm in a federal facility. Two defendants, Ryan Bundy and Kenneth Medenbach, were charged with theft of government property.
Though the jury process is secret, the decision of one juror to complain about another shows conflict.
Moreover, jurors sent a note to the judge Tuesday that asked: "If we are able to agree on a verdict for three of the defendants, but are at a standoff for the others, does our decision for the three stand?"
That note and the days of deliberation brought optimism to the defense.
"A very quick verdict almost always means a verdict for the government," said Matthew Schindler, an attorney representing Medenbach.
"The level of deliberation that's been undertaken in this case means we have jurors who are very interested in applying the burden of proof and making sure a complicated allegation of conspiracy has actually been proved in this case. It's not as simple as showing that people were at the refuge."