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Cliven Bundy followers found not guilty in armed standoff case
Four defenders of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy have been found not guilty of numerous charges relating to their 2014 armed demonstration to stop a government-led cattle roundup.
The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that Scott Drexler, Ricky Lovelien, Eric Parker and Steven Stewart were found not guilty on multiple charges, including conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, extortion and weapons law violations related to the standoff with federal authorities. The jury deadlocked on four charges for Parker and two against Drexler, according to the newspaper, meaning they could face a retrial.
Defense attorney Shawn Perez told the Republic after the verdict that he was "shaking" and "teary-eyed."
"Both Ricky and I were teary-eyed," Perez said. "I was shaking ... I have gotten not guilty verdicts before, but this was really special to me."
The standoff occurred when federal authorities obtained a court order to seize Bundy's cattle in 2014 for decades of unpaid grazing fees that totaled more than $1 million. Instead, hundreds of supporters converged from around the country to begin an armed standoff with authorities, which resulted in the government backing down.
In 2015, the federal government charged 19 people, including the four defendants cleared Tuesday, for their roles in the standoff. The next trial, according to the Republic, will include Bundy and his two sons.
Federal prosecutors told the Republic they were "disappointed" by the jury's decision in the case.
"While we are disappointed with the verdicts, we thank the jurors for their service," said Trisha Young, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Las Vegas. "At this time, the government has not announced its decision regarding the retrial of Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler."