Ammon Bundy will stand trial for witness harassment in the St. Luke case
A year after he was sidelined in Ada County Court in a defamation case against him, far-right activist Amon Bundy appeared at a hearing on Tuesday morning.
Bundy has been arraigned in Boise for contempt of court and a trial date has been set for his recent conflict with the Idaho justice system. Fourth District Judge Lynn Norton issued an arrest warrant for Bundy in April after he allegedly violated a court order to cease harassment and intimidation of witnesses in the since-solved St. Luke’s case. The Statesman previously reported.
Bundy arrested 11 on that memo at a high school football fundraiser, former Statesman reports. He just got out of Jim County Jail for $10,000 after spending more than 24 hours inside.
Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin has scheduled the bench trial to begin at 8:30 a.m. on October 2 in the Ada County Courthouse. Any verdict will be decided by Baskin and not by a jury because Bundy’s maximum sentence would be six months in prison. He may also face fines each time he is found to have violated a court order.
The charges against Bundy relate to the St. Luke defamation case that concluded in July when a jury ordered Bondy and co-owner Diego Rodriguez to pay. $52.5 million in damages To the health system and other plaintiffs. The case began after Bundy and Rodriguez led protests at St. Luke’s Hospitals in Meridian and downtown Boise in March 2022 over a childcare issue involving Rodriguez’s 10-month-old grandson.
Bundy has since announced He owes “St. Luke nothing.”
It emerged that the defendants had spread multiple lies online about the hospital system and health workers, and about why the child was being held. They posted videos and blogs saying the hospital was working with the government to remove children from Christian families to be sexually abused and to give them to same-sex couples, according to court documents.
Bundy has been accused of Harassment of witnesses in the case several times in April, which resulted in a contempt charge. At least three witnesses were unwilling to testify because they feared the tactics used by the former gubernatorial candidate and his followers, according to St. Luke’s attorney Eric Stidham.
Prosecutors also alleged that Bundy, Rodriguez, and their cohorts continued to attack and harass witnesses who testified at the July trial.
Bundy is representing himself in court
Bondi represented himself at the hearing on Tuesday, as he often has after arrests, including for kidnapping. Baskin strongly recommended getting a trial lawyer or using a public defender. Bundy said it was difficult to find someone willing to represent him.
“It’s very hard (to find) and it’s also very expensive,” Bundy said.
About 20 people attended the hearing in support of Bundy, and some spoke outside their role in court.
Baskin went back and forth with a few of those present when several people said they wanted to represent Bondi’s People’s Rights Network. Members have disputed the perception that Bundy is controlling the group, with one person telling Baskin that she “needs to understand what a people’s rights network is”.
Baskin replied, “I don’t need to understand that today.” “All I know is to represent any entity, one needs to be an attorney licensed in Idaho.”
The People’s Rights Network also called on its members to demonstrate in front of St. Luke’s attorney’s office and at the home of the Norton judge who issued the arrest warrant. Followers also posted pictures of posts attacking Norton.