Ammon Bundy asks to push back contempt trial

A judge previously set the trial for early October
Ammon Bundy appears for arraignment in Ada County
Posted at 11:32 AM, Aug 30, 2023

ADA COUNTY, Idaho — Ammon Bundy is requesting his contempt trial in Ada County, currently set for early October, to be pushed back several weeks. In a new court filing, Bundy says the current October 2 trial date with interfere with his fruit harvest.

"As an apple and pear producer, October is harvesting season and [a] crucial and busy time," Bundy said in the motion. "Having [a] trial at the beginning of the harvest season would prove to be very difficult for both attending to the trial and to harvesting my crops. I cannot do both at the same time."

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Bundy is accused of violating a judge's orders related to ongoing lawsuits brought forward by St. Luke's and some of its employees. The orders instructed Bundy and the People's Rights Network, a group that Bundy claims he does not control, to take down online videos in which Bundy called St. Luke's staff 'child kidnappers' and 'child traffickers' in response to a child protection case in 2022 involving the infant grandson of Diego Rodriguez, a close friend of Bundy.

The second order instructed Bundy not to harass or intimidate any potential witnesses in the case.

At an arraignment Tuesday in Ada County, District Judge Nancy Baskin urged Bundy to seek legal counsel ahead of trial. Judge Baskin said Bundy would not face any more than six months maximum incarceration, therefore he is not eligible for a jury trial. The court trial was set for October 2 and could take four days.

The next day, Bundy filed the motion and said he originally did not object but shortly after realized the "impact and disruptions" having a trial that week would have on their annual crops.

" With 360 plus fruit trees, it is an extensive and time-consum[ing] effort to harvest and process the fruit," Bundy said. "The loss of the apples and the distraction in trial would not be fair to my family or I[sic]. All of which would put more financial burden upon my family and damage the attempt to have a fair trial."

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Bundy said the harvest would wrap in early November and requested the judge consider postponing the court trial to mid or late November.

Bundy has represented himself in past proceedings and had no comment Tuesday regarding his plans for future counsel. The judge provided him with information on how to apply for a public defender.

"I think you would be at a disadvantage if you represented yourself," Judge Baskin said. "I strongly urge you not to represent yourself. You can make your decision and advise me at the time the trial is set."

When asked if he understood the potential consequences of representing himself in this contempt trial, he repeatedly said, "No comment."

"My issue with attorneys is that they're very timid in the courtroom," Bundy said Tuesday. "They're not very willing to actually defend their clients."

After Bundy expressed some concerns about limited information regarding what the plaintiffs are alleging as "acts of contempt", Judge Baskin ordered them to provide clarifications to Bundy within one week. He will then have seven days to respond with affirmative defenses.

The judge explained each online posting or public discussion violating the court orders could be considered an act of contempt. Bundy refused to formally admit or deny any of the acts of contempt. The judge entered denials on his behalf.