Ryan Bundy decided to represent himself in court against charges related to an armed occupation of a federally owned wildlife refuge because his court-appointed attorney was unfit for the job.
Bundy was imprisoned on several charges, including conspiracy, for his part in the 2016 armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. At the end of the trial, throughout most of which he represented himself, Bundy was acquitted of all charges. He even helped uncover key evidence involving surveillance cameras while cross-examining a witness.
“I had a court appointed attorney who was full of himself … He kept telling me how lucky I was to have him,” Bundy told E&E News in an interview released Monday. “Now an attorney represents a man … yet this attorney, he said, ‘this is my case and I’ll do it my way.’ And I said, ‘No it’s not your case. This is my case. This is my life that’s on the line.'”
“Now, I knew that this man, first of all, he was a liberal. He did not believe in the Constitution nor freedoms. He had not read the Constitution in forever,” Bundy added. “I knew that he was an atheist, he did not know God. He did not understand and know the holy spirit. He did not love liberty. I knew that he could not represent me.”
Bundy was certain he would be imprisoned “for the rest of [his] life” if he continued with the court-appointed attorney, so he dropped him. Another attorney who, like Bundy, attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was a member of the Constitution Party stepped forward and offered represent the rancher in court.
“He knew and understood and loved the Constitution and loved liberty. He was everything that this other attorney was not and he wanted to represent me,” Bundy said. “But he wanted a large sum. He wanted lots of money.”
After praying about the matter and under direction from the Holy Spirit, Bundy decided to act as his own attorney.
“That instruction from the Lord scared me to death … But between those that He sent to help and the words that He gave me to say at the proper times, I was effective,” Bundy told E&E News. “And so I give credit to my Father in Heaven for that.”
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