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Bundy had ‘no intention’ to appeal Idaho Capitol trespassing conviction. He just did

Anti-government activist Ammon Bundy is wheeled from the Idaho Statehouse on Aug. 26 following his second arrest for trespassing in two days.  (Keith Ridler)
By Ian Max Stevenson Idaho Statesman

Ammon Bundy has apparently had a change of heart.

After saying he would not, Bundy is now appealing his July conviction on charges of trespassing and resisting or obstructing officers stemming from incidents at the Idaho Capitol in August 2020.

The Republican candidate for Idaho governor, who is known for militant protests and has been arrested multiple times in Boise since last August, was found guilty of the misdemeanors after short deliberations by a jury.

In a statement on Twitter released the day of his conviction, Bundy called the verdict a “very dangerous” precedent but said he would not be taking it further.

“It is out of my hands now,” his statement read. “I have no intention to appeal this decision. The people of Idaho have spoken and I will serve my sentence as ordered.”

Despite those comments, Bundy filed a motion to be acquitted on the charges later that month, which Ada County Magistrate Judge David Manweiler denied.

On Thursday, Bundy and a co-defendant also convicted of misdemeanor trespassing, Aaron Schmidt of Coeur d’Alene, filed a notice of appeal, noting in a court record obtained by the Idaho Statesman that they intend to pursue whether the trespass statute they were convicted under is “unconstitutionally vague” and “constitutionally overbroad,” and whether the statute applies to public property.

In August 2020, Bundy refused to leave the Lincoln Auditorium at the Statehouse during a special legislative session. He and a group of people were protesting COVID-19-related public health measures. Bundy was arrested, and Idaho State Police troopers wheeled him out of the building in a rolling chair when he didn’t comply with police orders.

After the July jury trial, the Emmett resident was sentenced to three days in jail, but did not serve additional time because he was allotted credit for time served. He was also sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a $1,089 fine by Manweiler.

Bundy has paid the fines but has not yet submitted a certificate of completion of his community service hours, according to the Ada County Clerk’s Office.

Attempts to reach Bundy for comment about the appeal Wednesday were unsuccessful, and a lawyer representing him declined to comment.

Bundy has an ongoing separate case stemming from additional trespassing charges. After Bundy’s arrest at the Statehouse in August 2020, he was banned from being on Capitol grounds or in the Statehouse for one year. In April, he was arrested twice on the same day for violating that ban. He was taken to jail and booked after the first arrest, posted bail and then promptly returned to the Capitol.

In August, Bundy filed a motion to dismiss those outstanding trespassing charges, for which a hearing was held last week. Bundy will appear before Magistrate Judge Kira Lynn Dale for a status conference in that case on Oct. 15.

Bundy is known for armed standoffs with law enforcement, notably on federal land near his family’s ranch in Nevada in 2014 and at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, which resulted in the death of one occupier.

News of Bundy’s gubernatorial run first broke in May, and he held a campaign launch in Meridian in June. His platform includes ending “immoral” taxation, which he says includes personal income tax, as well as turning over federal lands to state control.