Southern Utah News Articles
Cox acquitted in Oregon stand-off charges
Kanab resident Shawna Cox was one of seven acquitted on charges of conspiring to impede federal workers from doing their jobs by force, intimidation or threat, during the 41 day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Federal Judge Anna J. Brown announced the verdict to a packed Portland, Oregon courtroom on Thursday October 27.
The Malheur occupation began January 2 when protesters marched in Burns, Oregon, in support of ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond, who had been having their own issues with the federal government.
After the march, Ammon Bundy led a group to continue the protest by occupying the nearby Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The protesters held nearly daily press conferences outside the building during the takeover, often with Ammon running lead. He indicated the conflict was over federal land ownership. Often referring to the Constitution, the protesters said that the government’s over-reach must be stopped.
Ammon and Ryan Bundy were both acquitted on the Oregon charges, but are being held over on charges they face in the 2014 standoff with Bureau of Land Management officers on the family’s ranch in Nevada. They will be transferred to Nevada where their father Cliven is jailed.
The trial, which had begun on September 13, was said to have a circus-like atmosphere with supporters, legal counsel, jurors, and journalists crowding the courtroom, and another room four floors away watching the proceedings on video completely packed as well.
“This is our first step in restoring our Constitution,” commented Cox of the verdict. “We have no separation of powers, and to restore our domestic tranquility, we must restore our Constitution.”
Another seven Malheur occupiers will go to trial in February, 2017.