This story was originally reported by Alex Brizee of the Idaho Statesman
Far-right activist Ammon Bundy was found guilty of trespassing and resisting officers at the Idaho Capitol, a six-panel jury concluded after three days at the Ada County Courthouse.
The gubernatorial candidate was convicted of two of the three misdemeanor charges against him — one count of trespassing, for the second time in less than a year, and one count of resisting or obstructing officers’ arrests and seizures. The jury was not able to make a decision on the other trespassing charge against him.
Bundy will serve no jail time. Ada County Magistrate Judge Kira Dale offered him one year of unsupervised probation as long as he doesn’t commit a new crime for the year starting Wednesday. He would have originally been sentenced to 20 days in county jail. He was also fined $3,000 plus court fees.
After Bundy compared his actions to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., Dale called that comparison “misguided and misplaced.”
The jury, which deliberated for more than seven hours, could have stayed longer to decide if the trespassing charge was Bundy’s first or second offense, but Bundy decided to enter into an Alford plea. That means he maintained his innocence but accepts the ramifications of a guilty plea — essentially pleading guilty — to trespassing as a second offense within five years.
Bundy was convicted in July of trespassing in the first degree after he refused to leave the Lincoln Auditorium in the Idaho Capitol, which resulted in a one-year ban. Bundy is appealing that conviction.
Roughly 20 supporters filled the wooden pews of courtroom 410 as the prosecution and Bundy waited for the six-person jury to enter the courtroom and read the verdict. While waiting, Bundy turned to his supporters and jokingly held up a piece of paper that he called a “get-out-of-jail-free card.”
“Everybody, don’t worry, I’ve got my get out of jail free card,” Bundy said.
Under Idaho Code, Bundy could have been sentenced to up to six months in jail and fined between $1,500 and $3,000 for the trespassing violation. Bundy also could have been sentenced to up to one year in county jail and be fined up to $1,000 for resisting or obstructing officers’ arrests and seizures.
The charges tried this week stem from April 2021 incidents in which Bundy was arrested, twice in one day, for entering the Capitol while under the one-year ban from the building. That ban resulted from his August 2020 arrest for refusing to leave the Lincoln Auditorium at the Capitol during a legislative special session.
“Mr. Bundy is not on trial for who he is,” Ada County Deputy Prosecutor Whitney Welsh said. She continued that while civil disobedience has long been a part of the nation’s history, it doesn’t mean it is without consequences.
The trial was expected to be almost a week long but it was cut short. Bundy chose not to give an opening statement or present witnesses and evidence to the jury on Tuesday.
Bundy was arrested on suspicion of trespassing again Saturday after he failed to leave the St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center property in relation to a child welfare case. An arraignment has yet to be set, according to online records.