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Opening statements heard in 2nd Malheur standoff trial


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Opening statements began Tuesday in the second trial stemming from last year’s armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern Oregon.

A jury last fall found standoff leader Ammon Bundy not guilty of conspiring to impede workers during the 41-day protest over federal land policy. Prosecutors are now trying to convict four lesser-known defendants on the same charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Barrow told jurors Tuesday it’s a simple case, and that a conspiracy does not have to include a formal written agreement. He said there was a meeting of the minds to keep Interior Department employees away, and it was impossible for workers to do their jobs when their desks were occupied by armed men.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Andrew Kohlmetz said a variety of causes led people to the occupation. He said not a single person traveled there to stop people from working.

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