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'If I'm wrong I need therapy': Ammon Bundy responds to St. Luke's legal action

Attorneys for St. Luke’s filed a motion for contempt against Bundy in February and are asking for punitive damages of $7.5 million. Bundy said he is being harassed.

IDAHO, USA — Anti-government activist, and former gubernatorial candidate, Ammon Bundy has been absolutely absent in dealing with a lawsuit against him. However, this week Bundy has been very present, at least online. 

Bundy has been posting videos and writing letters, claiming he is being harassed by St. Luke's and its attorneys. In a video posted on YouTube, Bundy said the whole thing started when the hospital and Health and Welfare took a child, "Baby Cyrus," from his parents. He said, if I'm wrong, I need therapy.

"When I say I don't like St. Luke's they spend hundreds of thousands, millions, of dollars to try and destroy my life in the courts," Bundy said. "By not participating, I'm being very strategic in mitigating this lawsuit."

As KTVB previously reported, on Tuesday, April 18, attorneys for St. Luke's filed a motion in the state's highest court to get the Gem County Sheriff to serve Bundy legal papers. That was something Sheriff Donnie Wunder decided was too dangerous to do anymore.

Last week Sheriff Wunder issued a press release that stated Bundy was being confrontational and that the sheriff wasn't willing to risk the safety of his deputies over a civil case. After St. Luke's went to the Idaho Supreme Court, Sheriff Wunder had a change of heart yesterday. He wrote another letter saying he had further discussions with prosecutors, St. Luke's, and their attorneys, so he will once again abide by his statutory duties.

"After St. Luke's filed the petition for writ of mandamus and prohibition, Sheriff Wunder re-engaged in discussions with the Gem County Prosecutor's Office, St. Luke's, and Holland & Hart to clarify the sheriff's duties. St. Luke's will withdraw the current Petition for Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition from the Supreme Court," the release stated. 

On Thursday, St. Luke's attorneys pulled their motion, called a "writ of mandamus" because the sheriff agreed to do his job required under Idaho code.

This stems from a days-long protest organized by Bundy outside St. Luke's in Boise over the baby taken by Child Protective Services (CPS). "Baby Cyrus" was removed from his parents after Health and Welfare determined he was malnourished and in imminent danger. The hospital also alleges Bundy has harassed, intimidated, and defamed several members of its staff.

Bundy claims that the child should have never been taken from his parents and, he has said that people should have torn the hospital down to go and get the baby. 

The morning after the infant was hospitalized at St. Luke's Meridian, on March 12, Bundy was arrested for trespassing because he refused to leave the hospital. Bundy and his People's Rights Network. He then organized several days of protests at St Luke's in Boise, claiming the boy was "medically kidnapped" by doctors and child protective services.

The protest culminated in the hospital having to go on lockdown for a couple of hours on March 15 out of fear. They had to divert patients and not allow visitors.

Two months later, in May of 2022, St. Luke's filed a lawsuit for defamation and several other claims, including invasion of privacy, against Bundy and his campaign and the People's Rights Network. 

Attorneys for St. Luke's claim there was a concerted effort to disrupt hospital business. False statements were made about CPS, and the hospital and its staff were attacked online.

St. Luke's wants the harassment to stop and get the false and defamatory things that have been posted online taken down. Neither of which have happened.

 St. Luke's attorney Erik Stidham said that Bundy violated the judge's order not to harass St. Luke's and people connected to the lawsuit. The judge issued a civil warrant for Bundy's arrest yesterday and Stidham asked for a "default judgment" in the case last week.

The arrest warrant was not issued because Bundy won't respond to the lawsuit or show up to any hearings; rather, it is related to charges of contempt of court. The judge said Bundy is violating her orders. This is where the civil case crosses the line into a criminal issue. This is the fourth time attorneys have brought up contempt issues in court. 

Stidham said the judge put an injunction and protective order in place to stop Bundy, his People's Rights Network and others from harassing, threatening, and intimidating potential witnesses for their lawsuit.

"Mr. Bundy has been in default for much of the litigation. Default means the defendant to appear timely so all the allegations in the complaint are taken as true. But St. Luke’s just recently moved on default judgment. Default judgment is the next step. At default judgment, the Court moves to the step of determining the number of damages. In a case like ours where damages are not immediately ascertainable, the Court must have a hearing, At the hearing evidence will be presented on damages. In our case, we will also be presenting evidence on punitive damages," Stidham said.

He also said that they have proof, through Bundy's own statements, that he continues to harass, threaten and intimidate people. In court filings St. Luke's claims Bundy and his network encourage violence against their enemies by naming plaintiffs in the suit and continuing to make defamatory comments.

Bundy repeatedly claims he is being harassed, that the hospital wants it to get to the point where he is arrested and told KTVB, "I'm sure they want to destroy me."

Stidham said that they wouldn't have taken all of these steps if not for Bundy's actions. 

"Not only not appearing in this case, but continuing to harass folks in violation of the judge's orders," Stidham said. "So there's a myriad of reasons why Mr. Bundy needed to be served with process. Now, had he appeared or had he been willing to accept service, none of this would have been required. So it's just disingenuous flat out for Mr. Bundy to say he's being served all these times. He's made that, he's created that."

In a phone interview with KTVB on Thursday, Bundy said he will not show up to hearings or respond because he can't afford to pay attorneys to represent him and can't defend himself against St. Luke's powerful team of lawyers. He said the best way to, "logically mitigate damages is to allow them to get a quick default judgement," and then deal with the consequences.

Bundy said St. Luke's wants him to do something that will be beneficial to them, which is for him to get upset. 

"I gave them that, and I wish I wouldn't have," Bundy said. "But it still doesn't change the fact they're harassing me."

Stidham said there were reasons that they did not file for a default judgement from the beginning.

"First, we wanted to get punitive damages in the case. That must be done before default judgment. Getting a court to allow for punitive damages in Idaho requires that substantial evidence be presented. That took some time," Stidham said. "Also, every time the complaint is amended it restarts the clock on default judgment. In our case we amended the complaint four times. The first amendment was to add Nurse Jungman because she did not get targeted until after the original complaint was filed. Second amendment was to add additional wrongdoing that occurred after the first amendment. The third amendment came when St. Luke’s won the right to amend to add punitive damages. And the Fourth Amendment was made to add to the case after the defamatory comments Mr. Bundy made regarding Dr. Erickson."

When asked why St. Luke's and its attorneys did not file a default judgment from the outset of this case, Stidham says they have two reasons:

"One is procedural; because of different steps that need to be taken in the case regarding amendments we were not able to move promptly to default judgment. Now there's also - to be candid - strategic reasons. We believe, and we have alleged in our proceedings, that this is a grift," Stidham said, "A tragic situation regarding this infant was used by Mr. Bundy and the others to raise money, feed the beast that is the People's Rights Network financially, get the publicity, drive up membership in People's Rights Network. We believe that cynical grift is what is behind all of this. And then connect it to now: We believe reason Mr. Bundy didn't appear is because he doesn't want the hood opened up on how this operation works."

Stidham said they want to unveil Bundy's finances and expose what his protest really was. They had an expert assess and review damages and losses due to these protests and ongoing threats.

"I want to make it clear: there were really significant damages - financial - that St. Luke's suffered because of this," Stidham said. "We have an expert report that estimates the loss, immediate loss, to St. Luke's, that includes lost patient visits, disruptions, security costs at $3.5 million. This was not a cost-free harassment. Then if you look at ongoing security concerns for St. Luke's, the number of damages and cost to St. Luke's, you get in the tens of millions of dollars." 

Stidham also added that there are emotional damages to those affected and doxed.

Bundy continues to push back. He said doxing the people involved in the "Baby Cyrus" case is the only accountability they have gotten from taking babies from loving parents. He said he will continue to name names and that, according to him, the Bible encourages defamation.

"St. Luke's: I get to speak my mind. I get to say what I want to. And I don't get to damage you, but I get to say what I want," Bundy said in a YouTube video posted Thursday afternoon. "But you're using the courts to basically destroy me because I spoke out bad against you. And you're lying, you're flat out lying Chris Roth and Erik Stidham. You're saying hat Diego and I did these things for gain to get money and to get donations and to get subscribers. That's just such a bunch of garbage, it's a flat out lie and you know it. There was only one thing that we were after. One thing. And that is to get that little baby back to his mother."

Stidham said the judge hasn't ordered the default judgement yet but if she does, she would find Bundy in default, consider St. Luke's allegations true and then schedule a hearing to determine damages. He said they have asked the judge to set a prompt hearing in Ada County where a jury hears the case.

As for the civil warrant, Bundy said in his YouTube video Thursday that he won't turn himself in. While there is no time frame to arrest him, Stidham said he believes the Gem County Sheriff will act on the warrant quickly.

Bundy claims he isn't violent, and is just expressing his right to free speech by protesting and legally doxing people.

"I've never hurt or harmed anybody ever," Bundy said. "Yet I am treated by the law and many others like I'm some crazy person with some weird far out ideals."

St. Luke's asked experts to give context to Bundy's statements and in two affidavits filed with the court a few weeks ago, experts state that Bundy incites violence among his tens of thousands of People's Rights Network followers when he targets anyone involved in this case online.

The defamation case has been going on for over a year and the attorneys for St. Luke's said that they are being more public about the suit now because they are standing up for their employees, patients and anyone who is a target of "conflict entrepreneurs" like Mr. Bundy.

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