Federal prosecutors want to drop charges against the four remaining defendants in the Bundy Ranch standoff case, including two militia members from Arizona.
Attorneys for the Nevada U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a motion late Wednesday asking the court to dismiss the remaining cases “in the interest of justice.”
Dave and Mel Bundy, and Arizona residents Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Jason Woods, were scheduled to stand trial Feb. 26.
They were the last of 19 defendants originally charged with taking up arms against federal agents to prevent a roundup of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle from public lands in 2014.
The motion is the latest twist in a legal saga that has included three trials, two acquittals, a handful of plea deals, two mistrials and a judge’s finding of prosecutorial misconduct.
It represents an ignominious loss for prosecutors. They saw their cases disintegrate last month when a judge dismissed charges against Cliven Bundy and other standoff leaders, saying federal prosecutors had violated the men’s rights to a fair trial by withholding evidence.
In the motion, federal prosecutors referenced a separate motion Wednesday asking the judge to reconsider the dismissal of charges. In the interim, they said, they had no choice but to drop the remaining cases.
“The government believes that under these circumstances and in the interest of justice, it is appropriate to move to dismiss the superseding indictment,” they said.
Federal prosecutors handling the case could not be reached for comment Wednesday. They have so far refrained from any public comment.