BOISE – Far-right activist Ammon Bundy has again been convicted of trespassing at the Idaho Capitol building.
Bundy was found guilty of one count of misdemeanor trespassing and one count of delaying a law enforcement officer on Wednesday after a two-day trial. The jury could not reach an agreement on a second count of trespassing.
Judge Kira Dale sentenced Bundy to 20 days in jail, but suspended the jail time in lieu of one year of probation. She also fined Bundy $3,000, the maximum allowed under state law.
The verdict marked Bundy’s second conviction for trespassing at the Statehouse in less than a year. He was also arrested on a trespassing charge last weekend after refusing to leave a local hospital in connection with a child-welfare case, but has not yet entered a plea in that case.
The first trespassing case came in connection with a protest staged by Bundy and others who were upset over public health restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic. He was arrested Aug. 25, 2020, after refusing to leave a Statehouse auditorium after officials ordered the room to be cleared. He was also charged with resisting and obstructing officers after police said he went limp and refused to stand up and put his hands behind his back. Officers ultimately wheeled him out of the Capitol building on a swivel chair.
For those offenses, a judge sentenced him to three days in jail – though with credit for time served, he did no additional jail time – and ordered him to perform 48 hours of community service and pay a $750 fine.
The trial this week stemmed from incidents in April 2021, when Bundy was arrested twice in one day for entering the Statehouse again despite being banned from the building for a year because of his earlier trespassing arrest.
Bundy, who represented himself, chose not to call any witnesses or make an opening statement to the jury. But after the verdict came back, he did make a statement to the judge in which he compared his actions to those of historic civil rights leaders Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The judge said the comparison was “misguided” and “misplaced.”
The only requirement of Bundy’s probation is that he not commit any new crimes, starting Wednesday.
Bundy, who is running as an Independent candidate to be Idaho’s next governor in a crowded race, is well-known for participating in armed standoffs with law enforcement, notably at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, which left one man dead, and on federal land near his family’s ranch in Nevada in 2014.
He’s also garnered a reputation as a political agitator in Idaho. On Tuesday, a Boise-area hospital went on lockdown for about an hour and diverted incoming patients to other facilities after Bundy called on his followers to swarm the hospital in protest of a child protection action.
A few dozen protesters stationed themselves outside the St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center, some holding signs suggesting the facility was part of a “medical kidnapping” and others speculating if they could get inside via underground tunnels.
The protest was over a child protection action involving a local family that is active in the far-right People’s Rights group started by Bundy.
The 10-month-old baby was temporarily removed from family custody last Friday after officials determined the baby was “suffering from severe malnourishment” and at risk of injury or death, according to a statement from police in the city of Meridian near Boise.
The baby’s parents had refused to let officers check on the child’s welfare after the family canceled a medical appointment, the police statement said. Child protection actions are sealed, but relatives of the family have said a hearing in the case was underway on Wednesday.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.