PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The second trial involving people who occupied an Oregon wildlife refuge last winter has reached closing arguments, with prosecutor Ethan Knight telling jurors the case is about four defendants who went too far.
The men are charged with conspiring to impede Interior Department employees from doing their jobs during the 41-day standoff. Occupation leader Ammon Bundy was acquitted of the charge in a high-profile trial last fall.
This time around, Knight stressed to jurors that a conspiracy does not have to include a formal agreement. He also emphasized that the men were not being tried for their political beliefs.
As in the Bundy trial, defense lawyers said their clients engaged in a peaceful protest against the federal government, and there was no agreement to impede workers.
Attorney Andrew Kohlmetz said criminal conspiracies thrive in darkness and secrecy, but the refuge occupiers acted openly by hosting press conferences and community meetings.