Ammon Bundy’s former lawyer Marcus Mumford was in court in Portland Wednesday, where he faces misdemeanor charges for failing to comply with and impeding federal police last fall.
U.S. marshals tackled and used a stun gun on Mumford at the conclusion of the first Malheur occupation trial.
Mumford’s lawyer, Michael Levine, argues Mumford was “merely engaging in zealous advocacy,” before he was tackled, “which is what he’s supposed to do.” Mumford was arguing that Bundy should be set free after his acquittal, despite federal orders to detain him.
“I hope to convince the court to dismiss the charges outright,” said Levine, “or if that’s not going to happen then to acquit my client after a trial.”
U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Ohms responded to the defense’s claims by saying, “There are disputed facts,” and that the charges should not be dismissed. They argue Mumford was physically trying to block marshals from taking his client back into custody.
Mumford is asking for a jury trial, over concerns that Judge Anna Brown, who presided over the original case, could be called as a witness.
“That’s going to put the court in a position where he’s going to be asked to weigh the credibility of another sitting federal judge,” said Mumford.
Levine said cross-examining a sitting federal judge and law enforcement officers takes “advocative courage,” because “as a lawyer you have to appear in front of judges all the time. Maybe even the same judge.”
Levine is asking the prosecution to produce any emails, texts, tweets or other messages sent by U.S. marshals and other officials on certain days of the trial. Levine suggests that some messages might show bias against Mumford.
The prosecution says they are willing to comply with messages sent on public devices, but that the request is “overbroad.”
Judge John Coughenour said he wanted to see messages that showed “any indication on marshals’ devices of hostility towards the defendant.”
At one point, Levine argued the counts were so baseless that “the court can’t permit the trial to go forward.”
Coughenour responded, “telling a judge what he can or cannot do is not always a good idea.”
Levine corrected himself, saying the court “should not” let the trial proceed.