Activist and gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy was sentenced to 10 days in jail and fined $3,000 after a judge found him in contempt for failing to perform public service ordered by the court.
Bundy was sentenced in July to 40 hours of ‘public service’ instead of jail after being found guilty of trespassing and resisting arrest for refusing to leave a closed committee room in the Idaho Statehouse during the 2020 Special Legislative Session.
The sentencing judge told Bundy he could perform this service at any church or nonprofit organization of his choice, but explicitly warned him that working for his own organization, or any service for which he was paid, wouldn’t count.
However, Bundy submitted hours he had worked on his own political campaign, handing in a letter on his own letterhead “Ammon Bundy for Governor” certifying that he had completed the 40 hours.
On Thursday, Judge Annie McDevitt ruled that his campaign work not only failed to meet the requirement, but showed a flagrant disrespect for the instructions given to him.
Bundy didn’t just rescind his court-ordered service — which sometimes happens with defendants — but deliberately made “a mockery of the sentence you received,” McDevitt told him.
During the contempt hearing, prosecutor Whitney Welsh urged the judge to send the message that Bundy was not above the law, by releasing videos that showed him involved in violent clashes at the Statehouse and at the Southwest District Health Building and recounting his many arrests and refusal to follow court orders.
“He doesn’t obey laws he doesn’t agree with,” Welsh told the judge.
Welsh also pointed to instances in which Bundy targeted those who crossed paths with him, including a video of him reading the home address of an Ada County judge who presided over a child custody hearing involving friends of Bundy’s family, as well as threats he made to Idaho State Police troopers who arrested him.
“I will come after you, each one of you personally,” Bundy said in footage from the back of the police cruiser, telling soldiers he would find out where they live. “You will not be protected, you have been warned.”
Acting as his own attorney in the contempt hearing, Bundy argued that the Idaho trespass laws that resulted in his original conviction were flawed, adding that he would like to see the Supreme Court of United States weigh in on their legality. He also argued that police and Statehouse officials lacked the authority to arrest or ban him from Statehouse, and told McDevitt he was punctual and polite throughout the court process. .
“Am I walking around breaking the law? Am I walking around disrespecting the courts?” He asked. “No I do not know.”
McDevitt was unconvinced, however, and handed down the maximum sentence allowed: the five-day jail sentence suspended on the original trespassing conviction, followed by another five days for contempt.
“The point of public service is to give back to the community in a way that doesn’t serve you,” she said. “Obviously working for your own campaign is self-serving work.”
The judge also condemned Bundy directing his supporters to go to the home of a judge he disagreed with, telling him she believed he was using his leadership and influence to intimidate and harass people. people.
“You repeatedly violate legal orders to meet your own agenda,” she said.
Bundy was handcuffed by deputies and taken into custody immediately after the hearing to begin serving the 10-day sentence.
In March, a jury found Bundy guilty of a misdemeanor trespassing charge and a delaying officer charge in connection with an April 2021 incident that ended with him being transported out of the building of the Capitol on a cart. For these offenses, he was sentenced to one year probation and fined $3,315. His probation stipulates that he cannot be charged with another misdemeanor.
Days before the verdict and sentence were due, Bundy was arrested for trespassing at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center; he and some of his supporters were protesting the aforementioned child protection case.