Larry Wooten, who had been the lead case agent and investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has filed an eighteen page report on the Bureau of Land management raid on the Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada. In the scathing report, Wooten documented several areas where the BLM violated the law and has made it possible for Bundy’s lawyer to ask for a dismissal of the charges against Cliven Bundy. The prosecutor’s case was already in trouble after the judge found out prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense. The judge has sent the jury home for a week while she decides whether to declare a mistrial or an outright dismissal of the charges.
The accusations center around Dan Love, the former special agent-in-charge of the cattle roundup for the Bureau of Land Management, who ignored instructions from the US Attorney in charge and his superiors at the BLM “in order to command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.” Love also allegedly kept a “kill book” in which he bragged about causing the suicides of three of the defendants in a joint FBI/BLM investigation into stolen artifacts. Love was not punished for his actions in the Bundy case but was let go after serious violations in another case, possibly yhe artifact case.
Wooten wrote that supervisory agents with the bureau repeatedly mocked the defendants in an “amateurish carnival atmosphere” that resembled something out of middle school, displayed “clear prejudice” against the Bundys, their supporters and Mormons, and prominently displayed degrading altered booking photos of Cliven Bundy and other defendants in a federal office and in an office presentation.
The memo described “heavy handedness” by government officers as they prepared to impound Cliven Bundy’s cattle. He said some officers “bragged about roughing up Dave Bundy, grinding his face into the ground and Dave Bundy having little bits of gravel stuck in his face.” Dave Bundy, one of Cliven Bundy’s sons, was arrested April 6, 2014, while videotaping men he suspected were federal agents near his father’s ranch.
Wooten claims that the agents supervising the raid on the Bundy ranch had not turned over exculpatory evidence that would have cast doubt on the testimony and credibility of some of the witnesses.
Wooten asked Steven Myhre, Nevada’s acting U.S. attorney and and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadia Ahmed, as well as FBI special agent Joel Willis that he was afraid that certain evidence was not being shared with the defense.
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On Feb. 16, Wooten said he asked Myhre if statements that Love made, such as “Go out there and kick Cliven Bundy in the mouth (or teeth) and take his cattle” or “I need you to get the troops fired up to go get those cows and not take any crap from anyone” would be considered evidence that must be shared with the defense. He said that Myhre replied, saying something like “we do now” or “it is now.”
Two days later, Wooten said his supervisor took him off the investigation and another Bureau of Land Management agent confiscated files from his office and from a safe in his office.
The material included computer hard drives, collected emails, text messages, case notes and “lessons learned,” Wooten wrote.
Wooten commented on the confiscation
“These items were taken because they contained significant evidence of misconduct and items that would potentially embarrass BLM Law Enforcement Supervision. I am convinced that I was removed to prevent the ethical and proper further disclosure of the severe misconduct.”
Wooten now believes that he was taken of the case by the insistence of Myhre who has adopted a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell: regarding the raid on the Bundy ranch. Wooten says that the prosecutors also withheld the fact that the government had set up snipers for “surveillance” before the raid on the Bundy ranch was made.
“Not only did Mr. Myhre in my opinion not want to know or seek out evidence favorable to the accused, he and my supervisor discouraged the reporting of such issues.”
“I have tried to resolve these issues through my chain of command but I have failed.”
The Bundy’s lawyer, Bret O. Whipple declined any comment on the memo, and would only describe the new information received as “quite a development,” one he hadn’t seen in his 20-plus years of legal work.
He believes the case should be tossed out because of the egregious wrongdoing by investigators and the prosecutors.