Trump pardons ranchers in case that inspired 2016 Malheur Wildlife Refuge occupation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Trump has pardoned two Oregon ranchers, whose arrests and convictions sparked the occupation of a wildlife refuge just across our state’s border.

The case brought up controversy even before 2016, with more added today, as President Trump announced the pardoning of Dwight and Steven Hammond.

The father and son were convicted in 2012 of intentionally setting fires on public lands. This arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff, giving them much lighter prison terms.

Fast forward to 2016, prosecutors won an appeal, and the Hammonds were resentenced to serve the mandatory minimum in 2016, a decision sparking protest from Ammon Bundy, and many others, who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the Hammond ranch from January 2, 2016, to February 11, 2016.

Today, Erin Maupin, among many other supporters of the pardoning is speaking out,

“Really in the scheme of the whole world, and with everything the President is dealing with, from Korea to trade, he took time and careful thought, consideration and prayer over two ranchers in the middle of nowhere Eastern Oregon, high desert of Harney County, and I think that’s truly what a government official should be about,” says Maupin.

The pardoning caught friends and family off guard this morning, but they say they are grateful to all who worked to make this possible and bring this about.

The Hammonds have not returned to their homes in Oregon yet, and the family is unsure of the timeframe of their return.

The Harney County Sheriff, David Ward, says he is “Happy for their families and respects the Presidents decision, as it is a lawful use of our governmental system."

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