Federal prosecutors aren’t giving up on their case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. On Wednesday they filed opening briefs in their appeal of a judge’s dismissal of felony conspiracy and weapons charges against Bundy and others.
The case was dismissed a year ago by U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, who found “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct” by prosecutors against Bundy, his sons Ammon and Ryan, and independent militia member Ryan Payne.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth White asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to reverse Navarro’s decision, defending the Justice Department’s actions at trial.
“Any missteps were inadvertent (or at worst negligent), and those errors did not merit the court’s strong condemnation of the prosecution team,” White wrote, according to reports by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Navarro initially granted a mistrial after finding that the federal government improperly withheld evidence. She said video surveillance, maps and FBI interview information were willfully withheld by the prosecution in violation of due process required by the U.S. Constitution.
Cliven Bundy’s lawyer, Larry Klayman, responded to the government’s brief in a separate filing, calling the appeal “unprofessional and grossly unethical.”
“They are apparently hopeful that this court, if an appeal is heard, will relieve them from the prospect that their careers at the Department of Justice are over, much more the potential for disbarment,” Klayman wrote. “Given the record, this ‘Hail Mary’ attempt to skate from their own liability is destined to fail.”
The Bundys and others were charged after an April 2014 armed standoff with federal agents who tried to execute a court order to round up Cliven Bundy’s cattle.