PORTLAND, Ore. — The Latest on the trial of a group who took over a national wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):
In a turnaround, the face of the occupation at a national wildlife refuge denied leading the standoff over federal control of public lands and defended receiving a government loan to help his business.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight pressed Ammon Bundy on his claim that he wasn’t the leader, pointing to earlier testimony in which he said he was “sort of” in charge.
Bundy told Knight he teaches correct principles and lets people govern themselves.
Bundy also acknowledged receiving a $530,000 U.S. Small Business Administration loan to help his commercial vehicle maintenance business.
He rejected that it made him a hypocrite. Bundy says he supports the federal government, but not its management of land within states.
Bundy is among seven defendants charged with conspiring to impede federal employees from working on the refuge. Knight reminded Bundy that he testified the occupiers were there for a unified purpose.
The leader of the standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge has testified that he believed his life was in “extreme danger” when he was arrested during a traffic stop and described the death of the occupation’s spokesman as an ambush.
Ammon Bundy took the stand Thursday for a third day of testimony in his federal conspiracy trial.
Under questioning from his attorney, Bundy described the Jan. 26 traffic stop outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that ended with his arrest. He says he feared getting shot if he made a move and was too afraid to pick up his hat.
Police fatally shot Robert “LaVoy” Finicum after he fled the stop in a different vehicle.
When Bundy called it an ambush, U.S. District Judge Anna Brown halted further mention of the topic, reminding the courtroom that Finicum’s death isn’t being litigated.