Idaho judge to preside over mediation in trespassing, other cases against Ammon Bundy

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Rick Bowmer / AP

In this Jan. 5, 2016, file photo, Ammon Bundy speaks during an interview at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Ore.

Tue, Apr 6, 2021 (12:08 p.m.)

The state of Idaho will enter mediation later this month with Ammon Bundy over his various arrests.

At a status conference on Friday, Magistrate Judge David Manweiler ordered Bundy and a second defendant, Aaron von Schmidt, to go to mediation, which is an attempt to reach a settlement before a case heads to trial.

Bundy is facing charges of trespassing and resisting or obstructing officers after he refused to leave the Idaho Statehouse during the Legislature's special session last August. In March, Bundy was arrested again outside the Ada County Courthouse for failure to appear. Gathering with other protesters on March 15, Bundy and von Schmidt refused to enter the courthouse wearing masks and subsequently were arrested, according to a news release.

Bundy is known for anti-government, militant protests and has been a vocal opponent of health care measures put in place to curtail the spread of COVID-19. His anti-mask behavior even got a high school football game postponed in October.

On Friday, Manweiler ordered that the mediation will occur on April 26 and will be administered by Magistrate Judge Gregory Kalbfleisch, of the 2nd District in North Idaho. The proceedings will be private.

"This is merely an attempt for the parties to seek a resolution with an experienced judge," Manweiler said. Kalbfleisch has mediated "some cases with similarity very successfully," the judge added.

The Idaho Supreme Court issued an order last summer requiring mediation in misdemeanor cases when ordered by the presiding judge. Neither the state nor defendants have grounds to object to the mediation, according to a news release from the Ada County Prosecutor's Office.

Bundy left the conference early.

"Mr. Bundy apparently has left the meeting," said Manweiler, before ending it.

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