BOISE, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.
Nearly a year after gubernatorial candidate and right-wing activist Ammon Bundy was wheeled out on a cart after allegedly trespassing on statehouse grounds, he appeared in court for the second day of his jury trial on Tuesday, where he said the police had no authority to make an arrest.
The trial is taking place at the Ada County Courthouse, after Bundy pleaded not guilty to multiple trespassing misdemeanor charges. As he represented himself, Bundy stood in a fourth-floor room, watching the state play video after video of him handcuffed in a police car.
The trial moved to jury deliberations on Tuesday afternoon and a verdict is expected on Wednesday.
The crux of Bundy's defense for two counts of trespassing and delaying an officer from 2021, he said, is based on whose authority it was to arrest him — which was later shot down by a judge.
“It’s not about justice,” Bundy told the Idaho Press.
The state called three witnesses on Tuesday and one witness on Monday: Department of Administration Director Keith Reynolds, who manages the grounds and has the authority to bar people from the Capitol, according to ISP officer Matthew Vallard.
A trespassing letter was filed and signed by Reynolds during an incident in 2020, which cited Idaho Code 18-7008, addressing criminal trespassing. That incident originally barred Bundy from the Capitol and led to his arrest in 2021.
On Tuesday, Bundy took an opportunity to bring up the issue of Constitutionality and public property, which had already been vetted by a court, according to the presiding Judge Kira Dale.
Bundy said, once again, that his defense was crumbling and began to argue with the judge.
“So what are we doing here? This is just marching me to the gallows. We’re not able to talk about what we’re doing here, why I was there, what was the purpose? You’ve eliminated everything, all of my defense,” he said.
“This is not a fair shot,” he told the judge as he slammed down his book.
The state finished calling its witnesses at 1:25 p.m. Tuesday, after which Bundy was instructed to begin calling his own witnesses.
In an unexpected move, he said he would like to rest, too.
Bundy said the reason he gave up with relaying his side of the case was because the judge would not let him speak about certain things in court — called a motion in limine, Bundy was not allowed to discuss his previous arrests and what transpired that day before his arrest.
“I've seen it over and over again. Like, the jury doesn't know what even went on. They don't know what happened, what caused me to get trespassed. They don't know that that case was dismissed. They don't know that,” he said.
Bundy also said he pushed the boundaries so much with the judge to get across his frustrations to the jury.
Ada County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Whitney Welsh said in her closing statements this case is about one man — Bundy, who decided not to respect the authority of those that take care of public works and enforce laws.
“On April 8, 2021, Ammon Bundy decided not to respect the authority of the director of the department of administration or the Idaho State Police,” Welsh said.
Bundy said in his closing statements that the state wants this case to appear simple.
“It’s not about what you did see here, it’s more about what you didn’t. It’s not just a simple case. The only thing I can do is apologize for the things you are not allowed to see,” Bundy said. Something he wanted the jury to focus on was the fact the area of the Capitol building is public land, as he believed he was allowed to be there.
“Each person has a right to enter the Capitol building. You need to apply that,” he said.
The Idaho State Police troopers on the stand Tuesday said that they arrested Bundy after he broke a rule that he was to be barred from the state Capitol for a year, after taking part in disruptive protests during a special legislative session in August.
This is Bundy’s second trial in nine months in which he faces three misdemeanors.
Bundy and followers of his “People’s Rights” organization have frequently protested coronavirus-related measures in southwestern Idaho since the pandemic began.
After he was arrested once, Bundy returned — only to be arrested once more. He went limp and did not comply with orders, said one ISP officer on the witness stand, Sgt. Zachary Nichols.
At first, said ISP officer Sgt. Blake Higley, he cooperated and walked with the officers, as depicted on security footage.
When Bundy got to the landing below the stairs, however, he stopped cooperating.
Nichols said that he and four other officers had to pick up Bundy and put him down in a cart with wheels so that Bundy could be escorted out of the building since he would not comply with orders.
Bundy made sure to point out to the jury and Nichols that he didn’t fight back against the officers.
“Did I resist being arrested?" Bundy asked.
Nichols said that Bundy stiffened his body.
"You didn't obey my orders," the officer said. "That's a form of resistance."
The state displayed multiple videos of Bundy’s first and second arrests, where he is depicted as handcuffed in the back of a police car, heckling the patrolman, Vallard.
"It's terrible what you guys are doing to the people," Bundy said in the video. "I don't even know why you're arresting me. You don't even know. What trespass authority?"
Bundy went on to threaten to sue the officer, where he said he would come to the officer’s house and find him.
"By whose authority? You can't give me authority. He will not give me the authority!" He said in a video depicting his second arrest.
Abruptly, after watching the video of Bundy’s comments toward Vallard, a jury member informed the judge that they felt uncomfortable with Bundy’s statements in the video — specifically, when Bundy said “I’ll come after you.”
Bundy made it clear that he had a problem with this member remaining on the jury, as he said it was probably very “biased.” However, the juror remained.
“Obviously I'm the scary guy. That's pretty obvious, in the news and in the media," Bundy told the judge. “I’m not a violent guy.”
Bundy was also arrested for trespassing at St. Luke’s Meridian on Saturday; it is unclear when that arraignment will be.
Bundy told the Idaho Press he doesn’t believe this week's trial will affect his run for governor.
This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.
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