(Alternet) -- On Thursday, seven anti-government protesters who took over a federally owned wildlife sanctuary in Oregon last winter were acquitted of all charges. Led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, sons of rancher Cliven Bundy, who is being tried for another illegal standoff with the federal government, the group's lawyers were somehow able to persuade a jury in federal court that this was a case of government over-reach, not domestic terrorism. The acquittals on all federal conspiracy and weapons charges shocked many.
“I had been telling my client you can count on being convicted,” Matthew Schindler, a lawyer for one of the men on trial for the armed takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, told the Wasington Post. “You don’t walk into a federal court and win a case like this. It just doesn’t happen.”
The Wild West-like armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve in southeastern Oregon started as a protest against the arrests of two men who illegally started fires at the preserve, and was rooted in the rabid anti-government belief that the federal government has no right to control the lands that fall under its jurisdiction.
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