LAS VEGAS (AP) — A federal magistrate judge in Nevada made no immediate decision Friday whether trial can be held next month in Las Vegas for rancher Cliven Bundy and 18 other defendants in an armed confrontation with government officers two years ago.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen said she'll issue a written ruling by the end of the day. Her decision will be crucial to how the case proceeds.
It alleges conspiracy, obstruction, weapon, threats and assault charges that could get the 19 men the equivalent of life in prison in the April 2014 standoff with federal agents near Bunkerville.
All are currently in federal custody, and Friday was the first time all appeared in one courtroom together.
Federal prosecutors are asking for a trial date next February, due to the number of defendants and the exceptionally large amount of evidence they need to exchange with defense attorneys.
Defense attorneys complained that the government hasn't turned over any evidence yet, even though some defendants have been in jail for two weeks.
Prosecutor Steven Myhre put the amount of video alone at 1.4 terabytes — an amount that one defense attorney compared with 3,000 full-length Hollywood movies.
Myhre said it includes hundreds of thousands of Facebook postings obtained through warrants, plus investigators' reports, photos and media accounts.
The showdown pitted about 270 armed and unarmed Bundy backers against about 40 federal agents and cowboy contractors who backed down and gave up a cattle round-up about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
Seven co-defendants in the Nevada case also face a federal trial in September in Oregon following their arrests in an armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife refuge earlier this year.
Myhre called it unfair to expect them to prepare for and defend themselves in two federal trials in separate states at the same time.
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