News4Utah’s sister station KLAS had to opportunity to sit down exclusively with Cliven Bundy. Take a look at their report:
LAS VEGAS – Tuesday marked Cliven Bundy’s first full day of freedom since he was locked up for nearly two years.
“Probably, you know maybe the happiest 24 hours of my life,” Bundy said.
The cattle rancher and his son, Ryan sat down with the I-Team at the office of attorney Bret Whipple, Cliven Bundy’s attorney Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, a federal judge dismissed the case against Cliven, his two sons Ryan and Ammon, and Montana militia leader Ryan Payne. Judge Gloria Navarro called conduct by prosecutors outrageous.
Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and Ryan Payne were already out of custody with conditions during the trial, but 71 year old Cliven Bundy refused to take the offer from the judge until he was entirely a free man. That happened moments after Navarro’s decision Monday. Cliven Bundy was reunited with his family, including a grandchild he said he had never met.
“Had one little boy that was, I’d never seen him before in my life. He grabbed a hold of me, got his arms around my neck and he wasn’t gonna let go. Nobody, they tried to pull him away and he wouldn’t let go,” Bundy said.
All four defendants could have faced life in prison if convicted for their roles in an armed standoff in Bunkerville in 2014. That April, the Bureau of Land Management moved forward with the court ordered seizure of Bundy’s cattle which were illegally grazing on public land. Images spread on social media which included photos of a “First Amendment Area,” and video showing a heated interaction between Bundy family members and the BLM. Supporters showed up; some of them were armed. On April 14th, Cliven Bundy ordered the Clark County Sheriff to disarm the BLM, which did not happen. Later that day, the standoff occurred. The BLM backed down, and the cattle were released.
“The true criminals are the government who have been pointing guns at us and causing us harm. We have a right to defend ourselves,” Ryan Bundy said.
Bundy family members claimed they were being bullied by the BLM. In federal court Monday, Judge Gloria Navarro said prosecutors failed to turn over evidence which could have helped the defense, including information about surveillance, snipers near the Bundy ranch, and more.
“I knew that if I took a gun out there or I had given them any excuse, they would have pulled a trigger,” Cliven Bundy said.
Both Cliven and Ryan Bundy told the I-Team they believed the Clark County sheriff should have protected them from the BLM. Ryan Bundy insisted the BLM is not law enforcement.
Ryan Bundy: “We were defending ourself.”
Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “I think the issue with law enforcement here is…that’s an opinion.”
Ryan Bundy: “It’s not opinion. That’s a fact of law and don’t try to change it into an opinion. Do your homework, girl!”
Ryan Bundy also said he hopes what has unfolded will embolden people to take a stand. Some opponents worry this could encourage violence.
To Cliven Bundy, the message is simple for agencies like the BLM. “If you don’t want problems with American people, don’t show up,” he said.
The cattle at the center of the dispute with the federal government remains on the range on the land in Clark County.
Cliven Bundy: “Let me tell you…The BLM has set their last fire.”
Reporter Vanessa Murphy: “You’re sure?”
Cliven Bundy: “Yes, I’m sure.”
Cliven Bundy is planning to hold a press conference in front of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office/Metro Police Headquarters Wednesday at 1 p.m.
“I think we’re gonna protest the county sheriff,” he said. “Why didn’t you do your job?”
In response to the case being dismissed with prejudice, meaning the defendants cannot be retied, U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada released the following statement:
“We respect the Court’s ruling and will make a determination about the next appropriate steps.”