After a four-day trial and brief deliberations, an Ada County jury on Thursday evening found Ammon Bundy guilty of misdemeanor trespassing and resisting or obstructing officers.
Bundy, an Emmett resident known for standoffs with federal officials in Malheur, Oregon, and at his father’s ranch in Nevada, faced charges after an August arrest at the Idaho Capitol during the Legislature’s special session.
Idahoans’ reactions to the verdict were mixed, with some pleased to see Bundy face consequences — community service and a $750 fine — for refusing to leave the Statehouse as tensions roiled over COVID-19 measures. Others expressed confusion and anger that Bundy could be accused of, and found guilty for, trespassing at “the people’s house.”
Jared DeLoof, executive director for the Idaho Democratic Party, said in a phone interview that he was happy with the outcome of the trial but expressed concern about its political implications in Idaho. Bundy recently announced a bid for governor.
“It’s nice to see common sense prevail in our justice system,” DeLoof said. “However, the extremist politics that Bundy represents that used to be on the fringe are now mainstream Republican politics in the state of Idaho.”
DeLoof said he believed the “political circus” of Bundy’s trial detracted from Idaho issues like housing shortages, rising property taxes and education funding.
“Ammon may have faced a verdict today but the whole Republican Party will face a verdict with voters next year,” he said.
The Idaho Statesman reached out to Republican leader Rep. Scott Bedke, who testified for the prosecution in the trial, for comment, but did not hear back.
Social media posts poke fun at, express outrage for Bundy
On Twitter, Gregory Graf, who founded Idaho Conservatives, echoed DeLoof’s comment.
“A jury with common sense saw past Bundy’s lies and did the right thing. I hope the trend of justice being served the far right now continues,” he said.
One Twitter user expressed disappointment at Bundy’s sentence, saying it didn’t even amount to “a slap on the wrist.”
A Twitter user with the handle @BadIdahoTakes took a jab at federal prosecutors, who did not win cases against Bundy over his past standoffs.
“Congratulations to the Ada County prosecution team, which obtained a result the United States government couldn’t: guilty,” the tweet said.
In responses to an Idaho Statesman article on the verdict shared on Facebook, several commenters expressed annoyance at Bundy’s antics.
“Oh whoopty it doesn’t mean anything to him. He will find a way to make more drama somewhere somehow,” wrote Wendy Garcia-Sanchez.
In comments on an Idaho Dispatch Facebook post declaring the verdict, several commenters said they believed the proceedings were unfair to Bundy. The Idaho Dispatch, which was established last June, according to Facebook, calls itself a news outlet committed to eliminating media bias. The site is operated by Greg Pruett, founder of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and a self-described “liberty activist.”
“Liberal town, liberal judge, liberal jury, so I’m not surprised. Kangaroo court,” Steven Stiles wrote on the Dispatch post.
Other commenters called it a “sad day in Idaho” and threw out claims of corruption. But some said Bundy’s trial was fair.
“He requested a jury trial of his peers...they heard the evidence...justice served...that’s how it works,” Bud Paine wrote.