No bail urged for New Hampshire man in Bundy standoff

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 07, 2016 8:44 AM

By Ted Siefer

CONCORD, N.H. (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors urged a federal judge on Monday to keep a New Hampshire man behind bars while he awaits trial for allegedly helping to orchestrate a high-profile 2014 armed standoff with federal agents.

Jerry DeLemus was one of 14 people arrested last week in connection with the confrontation at the Nevada ranch of Cliven Bundy.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone in Concord, New Hampshire, said she would determine at a later date whether to release DeLemus on bail pending his trial.

Dozens of flag-waving DeLemus supporters demonstrated outside the courthouse and packed the courtroom during the hearing, applauding as he entered.

DeLemus co-chairs the New Hampshire "Veterans for Trump" coalition organized by the presidential campaign of Republican candidate and businessman Donald Trump.

Nineteen people, including Bundy and two of his sons, have been indicted in the case brought by Nevada federal prosecutors. The charges stem from a standoff that began when federal agents seized Bundy's cattle over unpaid grazing fees.

Militia groups rallied to Bundy's defense, and the government eventually released the cattle it had seized, citing a desire to avoid violence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Zuckerman said in court on Monday that DeLemus was too dangerous to be released, noting that he had brought a large .50 caliber machine gun to the ranch.

"With respect to dangerousness, our argument begins and ends with that weapon," he said.

But DeLemus' attorney said he was law-abiding and devoutly religious, and that he had sought to bring a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

"The government knows he's not dangerous because he's been out for two years and he’s been in communication with the FBI," attorney Jonathan Saxe said.

Three Republican state legislators and a neighbor testified on DeLemus' behalf. His wife Susan is also a state lawmaker.

DeLemus made headlines in January when he traveled to remote eastern Oregon to meet with armed protesters who had taken over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The occupiers were led by Ammon Bundy, another son of Cliven Bundy, who became a symbol of defiance for conservatives following the Nevada standoff.

DeLemus said at the time that he was acting on his own and not as a representative of the Trump campaign.

He also drew national media attention in June when he proposed holding a contest to draw Muhammad, the prophet in Islam.

(Reporting by Ted Siefer; Editing by Joseph Ax and Lisa Von Ahn)