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Feds, defense at odds over second refuge trial


SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Federal prosecutors and defense lawyers are at odds over how to proceed in the trial of a second set of defendants who are to stand trial for the takeover of a wildlife refuge in Oregon, three weeks after blanket acquittals in the first trial.

In a court filing on Wednesday, federal prosecutors indicated they will go ahead with the trial. But they asked that summonses for jurors be delayed while they evaluate their position.

Defense lawyers for six men and one woman set to be prosecuted in the second trial starting on Feb. 14 want a jury pool to be summoned as soon as possible, and they want this pool to be larger than the pool for the first trial so that an impartial jury is ensured.

Jesse Merrithew, one of the defense lawyers, says that in back-and-forth emails with prosecutors, he has laid out the defense elements, including a request for timetables for motions to be filed and for jury summons.

Nearly three weeks ago, a jury acquitted another seven defendants of the same charge: conspiring to impede federal workers from their jobs.

Merrithew says his side is also requesting more jurors be summoned in order to seek an impartial jury.

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