Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Who Inspired Bundy Militia Occupation of Wildlife Refuge

In this composite with handout images provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office suspects Ammon Bundy Ryan Bundy Ryan Waylen Payne Brian Cavalier  Peter Santilli Joseph Donald OShaughnessy, and Shawna Cox pose for a

Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Who Inspired Bundy Militia Occupation of Wildlife Refuge

The takeover was another flare-up in a decades-old conflict over federal control of millions of acres of public land in the Western United States.

The armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeast OR followed a judge's ruling that sent Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, back to prison to serve more time after their initial release. These fires were "backburns" that the family was using to protect their land from a wildfire started by lightning near their Burns, Oregon ranch.

"Finally, an elected official did something", Bundy said.

The Hammonds, meanwhile, were convicted of a "very serious crime" that shouldn't be brushed aside, he said.

"Whatever prompted President Trump to pardon them, we hope that it is not seen as an encouragement to those who might use violence to seize federal property and threaten federal employees in the West", Clark said.

"Farm Bureau was shocked by the minimum five-year sentence the Hammonds faced", said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

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The fire burned 139 acres of public land and destroyed all evidence of the game violations, the USA attorney's office said.

76, and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted in 2012 under an anti-terrorism statute and received sentences of 3 months and one year, respectively, according to the Washington Post.

Prosecutors won an appeal and the Hammonds were resentenced to serve the mandatory minimum.

Protesters who rallied to support the Hammonds included Ammon Bundy, who was part of the self-styled militia that broke into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, beginning a 41-day standoff with the US government over how it handles rangelands throughout the Western states. It turned deadly when police shot one of the occupiers. "They will be treated fairly and there will be a change in philosophy that we welcome and respect", said Jerome Rosa, executive director of the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.

"Pardoning the Hammonds sends a unsafe message to America's park rangers, wildland firefighters, law enforcement officers, and public lands managers", Rokala said in a statement. Williams declined to comment on the pardons.

The Hammonds have been locked up since January 4, 2016, after they were re-sentenced following their 2012 conviction for arson on public lands.

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In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that evidence against the Hammonds was "conflicting" and noted the trial judge's opposition to imposing the required mandatory minimum sentence.

"Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency", Sanders added.

Kardashian West arrived at the White House for a meeting with presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law.

Lyle Hammond, another of Dwight Hammond's sons, said Tuesday that his father and brother have been released from a federal prison south of Los Angeles but he didn't know their whereabouts.

The nonprofit would not have objected to Trump simply commuting the Hammonds' sentences and setting them free, Weiss said.

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