As the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation appears to be ending, the leaders of the group arrested Tuesday took the standoff to the justice system.
Seven defendants pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their duties through force, intimidation or threats in an initial appearance before federal Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman Wednesday in Portland, according to U.S. Attorney Bill Williams.
The defendants include Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne — who were arrested on U.S. Highway 395 en route to a meeting in John Day — and Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Peter Santilli, who were arrested separately in Burns.
Beckerman ordered all seven defendants to remain in federal custody until a detention hearing set for 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29.
Jon Ritzheimer also turned himself in to police in Arizona Tuesday. He appeared before a magistrate judge in Phoenix on the same charge with a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2.
The criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Katherine Armstrong also mentions Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who did not appear in court and is likely the person shot and killed by officers during the Highway 395 arrests. Authorities have not confirmed the name of the deceased.
Armstrong’s 32-page affidavit describes each defendant’s involvement in the refuge occupation.
“The named individuals, most of whom have been armed, have been working together, with additional known and unknown actors, to control federal property while refusing to leave, intending to impeded and prevent by force the federal officials who work on and use that property from performing their official duties,” she writes.