Trump pardons OR ranchers at center of 40-day standoff

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers at center of 40-day standoff | TheHill

In a move that sends a "very friendly message to some very risky people", President Donald Trump on Tuesday granted full pardons to Dwight and Stephen Hammond, the father-son team of OR ranchers whose 2012 conviction for arson inspired the right-wing Bundy militia's armed takeover and month-long occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump granted clemency to Dwight Lincoln Hammond Jr. and his son, Steven Hammond, two OR ranchers convicted of arson.

"The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in OR imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land", the White House said in a statement.

Their imprisonment inspired a Bundy-led militia to undertake an armed occupation of an OR wildlife refuge to protest the federal government's restrictions on federal land use.

The Hammonds distanced themselves from the occupiers and didn't endorse the action.

"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 said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in OR said Astarita falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of protester LaVoy Finicum, who was shot dead by another officer during the incident, "when he knew he had in fact fired his weapon".

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"Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these grants of executive clemency".

Their original sentence of three months in prison was turned into five-year terms after an appeal by prosecutors. Trump also issued pardons for former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Bush administration official Scooter Libby, right-wing media provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, and Kristan Saucier, a Navy sailor convicted of unlawful possession of national defense information who championed his case on Fox News. The statement said the Obama administration's decision to appeal the shorter sentence was "overzealous" and unjust.

The Hammonds were convicted of crimes that require a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five years in prison under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

Dwight Hammond is now 76 years old and has served approximately three years in prison. The pair had also coughed up $400,000 to settle a civil suit with the feds. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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