One protestor killed in cold blood by troopers
President Trump on Tuesday pardoned the father and son ranchers from Oregon whose imprisonment for setting fires on federal land sparked a 41-day takeover of a wildlife refuge in the state.
Trump signed the order granting clemency to 76-year-old Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, 49, who were convicted of arson in 2012 for fires that burned on federal land in 2001 and 2006.
Morgan Philpot, an attorney for the Hammonds, confirmed to Fox News that his clients were released from a federal detention center south of Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon.
In a statement, the Hammond family said they were “grateful to the president and all who worked to make this possible, and to bring this about … We are very anxiously looking forward to seeing Dwight and Steven home.”
Though they served their original sentences for the conviction — Dwight serving three months, Steven serving one year — an appellate judge ruled in 2015 that the terms were too short under federal minimum sentencing laws and the Hammonds were resentenced to serve the mandatory minimum. This decision led to the 2016 protests.
“The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land,” the White House said in a statement. “The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.”
The statement added: “Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.”
Dwight has so far served about three years in prison and Steven has served about four years. They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit.
The resentencing sparked a protest from Ammon Bundy and dozens of others, who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the Hammond ranch in southeastern Oregon from Jan. 2 to Feb. 11, 2016.
The armed occupiers changed the refuge’s name to the Harney County Resource Center, reflecting their belief that the federal government has only a very limited right to own property within a state’s borders.
During the standoff at the refuge, FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita allegedly fired shots during the arrest of rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. Astarita later was accused of falsely denying he fired two shots at Finicum or his truck and pleaded not guilty to three counts of making a false statement and two counts of obstruction of justice.
During the standoff at the refuge, state troopers shot and killed rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum. FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita later was accused of falsely denying he also fired two shots at Finicum or his truck and pleaded not guilty to three counts of making a false statement and two counts of obstruction of justice.
This is the latest in a series of Trump pardons. – Fox News