IDAHO, USA — Ammon Bundy, anti-government activist and former Idaho gubernatorial candidate is facing new legal ramifications. On March 18, Bundy failed to appear in court for a civil case filed against him by St. Luke's for defamation. The judge issued a warrant of attachment on Tuesday that seeks to bring Bundy into the courtroom on his contempt's charge and his bail was set at $10,000.
Bundy said there is nothing much to talk about.
"I stood for baby Cyrus and spoke against what was happening to his family and St. Luke's is using the courts to punish me for it," Bundy said. "They don't want money; they want to destroy me. If someone doesn't show up to a civil court case, then the judge issues default judgment and rules for the plaintiff. But not in this case, instead they issue a warrant for my arrest."
In May of 2022, St. Luke's sued Bundy for defamation and in an email, attorney for St Luke's, Erik Stidham told KTVB that Mr. Bundy is not being honest.
"This is not about him not participating in the case," Stidham wrote. "This contempt process is because he has violated a preliminary injunction and order prohibiting harassment of witnesses and parties to the litigation. He continues to threaten violence and harass despite the court orders telling him to stop."
Stidham furthered, St. Luke’s wants him to be held accountable for the damage and harm that Bundy caused and that, the hospital, "wants to expose the reality of what occurred—that includes presenting the grift to a jury."
This particular run-in Bundy is having with the law began little more than a year ago. Outside St. Luke's in downtown Boise, a group of people were protesting the removal of a child from his parents after he was determined to be malnourished and in "imminent danger."
The "baby Cyrus" protest was organized by the young boy's grandfather, Diego Rodriguez and his friend Ammon Bundy, who was also a candidate for governor at the time.
However, that was not the first protest for baby Cyrus. 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. He eventually made a plea deal in that case.
Bundy and his People's Rights Network then organized days of protests at the St. Luke's in Boise. They claimed the boy was "medically kidnapped" by doctors and Child Protective Services. The protests led to the hospital having to go into lockdown for nearly two hours on March 15th. The hospital had to divert patients to other providers and prohibit visitors.
On May 11, St. Luke's and a couple of their doctors filed a lawsuit against Bundy and his campaign, Rodriguez and his Freedom Man Press and Freedom Man PAC and the People's Rights Network.
The hospital claims there was a concerted effort to disrupt hospital business, false statements were made about CPS and the hospital, and its staff were attacked online.
"The St. Luke's Parties bring this lawsuit to protect patients and staff from further harm and harassment and to ensure that political bullying does not prevent St. Luke's from furthering its mission to improve the health of people in the communities it serves," stated the lawsuit.
St. Luke's goal is to stop the harassment and get the false and defamatory things that have been posted online taken down.
Neither of which happened.
Which is why attorneys for St. Luke's filed a motion for contempt in February.
They also want a judge to allow them to ask for punitive damages of $7.5 million.
During this time, other than pleading guilty to the original charge of trespass at St. Luke's in Meridian, Bundy has refused to show up or participate in any of the proceedings related to the lawsuit.
It has gotten to the point where the Gem County Sheriff, where Bundy lives, has refused to participate in delivering papers to Bundy, out of fear.
On Monday, St. Luke's filed a writ of mandamus with the Idaho Supreme Court, taking it directly to the state's highest court, to get the sheriff's office to do its duty.
The county sheriff is required by Idaho code to deliver all civil court paperwork. That includes notice of liens, evictions and lawsuits.
Stidham said that those involved in the suit took a tragic circumstance, where the child needed medical care, and turned it into a money-making operation.
"They ginned up a false conspiracy, they marketed aggressively, they continue to market it to this day, and we believe the motivation behind all of it is money, that's why we call it a grift," Stidham said. "Mr. Bundy has never shown up for any of the proceedings and there have been many. So, it's a cycle that we believe Mr. Bundy has created by not showing up and by continuing to act wrongfully."
The attorney claims that a website run by the child's grandfather, Freedomman.org, continue to post pictures and names of people online.
Further complicating this, is that given some of Bundy's previous statements and behavior, there isn't anyone to deliver the legal papers to Bundy, now that the Gem County Sheriff's Office wants to opt out.
"He threatens and he doxxes," Stidham said. "So, we had a small subset of process servers willing to take on the task and, we of course, used them initially. But some fell out because Bundy threatened them and then some fell out because Bundy made trespass complaints to the sheriff."
Stidham said they did use the sheriff's office, however, about a week ago when Bundy was served by deputies of the sheriff's office it became very confrontational.
Bundy did give an interview with a blog called Idaho Dispatch on Dec. 28, 2022, where Bundy said, "if I have to meet them on the front door with my friends and shotgun I'll do that, they're not going to take my property."
Stidham said Bundy has been served so many times for several reasons.
He's named, and in charge of, several other entities named in the lawsuit; including his campaign, the People's Rights Network and another business based in Wyoming.
Every time he refuses to show up or cooperate that begins another series of filings, that then legally have to be delivered to him.
Stidham said with this latest filing, they are asking the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn the Gem County Sheriff's interpretation of Idaho's trespass law, to not allow process servers on Bundy's property. They are also asking the court to direct Sheriff Wunder to comply with what they believe is his statutory duty to serve paperwork.
The Gem County Sheriff declined to speak about the matter. KTVB also reached out to an Ada County Prosecutor who did not respond at the time of this publication.
If the sheriff's office won't deliver anymore legal papers to Bundy's residence, it begs the question, how will he be brought into court?
Idaho State Police Public Information Officer, Aaron Snell said that it is the sheriff's responsibility to serve these papers and that he's not sure there's a legal precedence. Further, there may be some kind of legal precedence set in this case.
"The judicial process will make the decision," Snell said.
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