By Shari Dovale
Celebrations are dominant throughout the Patriot community tonight. The four men on trial for the second time in Las Vegas, Nevada are being released.
Eric Parker, Scott Drexler, Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovelein heard the jury return 34 Not Guilty verdicts today, out of 40 charges.
Each Defendant was charged with 10 separate charges, with 3 possibilities of additional enhancements. They were facing possibilities of spending the rest of their lives in prison.
For the past several weeks, the prosecution painted as damaging a picture as they could, aided by Judge Gloria Navarro. She shut down these men from putting on any kind of a defense.
They were not allowed to call witnesses on their own behalf. They were not allowed to talk about why they went to Nevada. They were not allowed to mention the bad acts from the BLM or FBI agents.
The only witness allowed to testify was a single defendant, Scott Drexler. He was sharply curtailed by Judge Navarro in what he was allowed to say.
Yet, the jury was paying attention. They saw the favoritism from the judge. They saw the defense get frustrated. They even had the judge tell them not to ask certain questions. Navarro specifically told the jurors they did not need to know why the FBI was involved in this protest. She told them not to ask about the Bill of Rights.
The jury came back on Monday with complaints of biased jurors. Yet, the judge made no changes in the jury. They indicated today that they were deadlocked on certain charges. Judge Navarro was open to giving them an “Allen Charge”, or sending them back to try harder to reach an agreement.
The jury was told they could come back with partial verdicts and they jumped on that option.
The most serious charges were Count 1: Conspiracy against the USA. The jury found each defendant Not Guilty, and Count 2: Conspiracy to Impede/Injure, also a Not Guilty across the board.
Steven Stewart and Ricky Lovelein had Not Guilty verdicts on all 10 charges. Scott Drexler was found Not Guilty on 8 of 10 charges. The 2 charges that were deadlocked were Count 5: Assault on a Federal Officer and Count 6: Use and Carry of a Firearm (with Count 5)
Eric Parker was found Not Guilty on 6 of 10 charges. The deadlocked charges for Parker were Counts 5 & 6, as with Drexler, Count 8: Threatening a Federal officer and Count 9: Use and Carry of a Firearm (with Count 8).
Stewart and Lovelein are expected to be released this evening. Parker and Drexler are anticipating being sent to a halfway house in preparation for release. They will be back in court tomorrow morning for a detention release hearing with Judge Navarro.
On April 12, 2014, the Bundy family and their supporters fly the American flag as their cattle is released by the Bureau of Land Management back onto public land outside of Bunkerville, Nev. (photo: AP)