A federal judge delayed the trial of Ryan Payne, a Montana militiaman who is accused of weapons charges and conspiring against the U.S. government, by more than two weeks because of the Las Vegas shooting.
The mass shooting that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded along the Las Vegas Strip could have implications for a high-profile federal trial that is set to begin in the city next week — a case that also involves weapons, the Washington Post reports. A federal judge delayed the trial of Ryan Payne, a Montana militiaman who is accused of weapons charges and conspiring against the U.S. government, by more than two weeks because of the Las Vegas shooting. The charges against Payne stem from the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff in Bunkerville, Nv. The trial was moved from Oct. 12 to Oct. 30. Payne’s attorneys are asking to move the trial nearly 450 miles away to Reno, arguing that it would be impossible to seat a fair jury in light of the gun-related massacre.
“In Reno, the jury pool will not include an overwhelming number of persons who personally know victims or survivors,” Payne’s attorneys wrote. A jury pool from the Las Vegas area, they argued, “will find it impossible to put the events of Oct. 1 out of their memory any time in the near future.” The court case emerged from events in 2014, when Payne and hundreds of other people gathered at the Bundy family ranch to protest what they called overreach by the federal government. Cliven Bundy, a rancher, had refused to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management for two decades. When officers came to impound his cattle, he and his supporters put out a call for reinforcements. People from around the U.S. rushed to his defense, some on horseback, some carrying American flags, some wearing camouflage and flak jackets. Payne’s attorneys argue that it is too soon for residents in Las Vegas to be unbiased in a trial that will heavily discuss the presence of firearms at the standoff.