Defense attorneys representing some of seven people arrested in an armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge on Wednesday began calling witnesses, a day after prosecutors rested their case.
Occupation leader Ammon Bundy and six others who allegedly took part in the weeks-long occupation are on trial on charges of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs.
Prosecutors on Tuesday rested their case by presenting 22 long guns and 12 handguns and more than 16,000 rounds of ammunition they say was found at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge after the occupation came to an end, NBC affiliate KGW reported.
The defendants have pleaded not guilty, and say they were exercising their First Amendment rights to conduct peaceful protests.
No one was injured in the occupation at the actual wildlife refuge, which began Jan. 2. — but one protester, rancher LaVoy Finicum, was fatally shot by state troopers as law enforcement moved in to arrest Ammon and Ryan Bundy and others as they tried to drive to a community meeting in the town of John Day, authorities said.
Authorities said Finicum had reached for what they thought was a gun, and a handgun was recovered in his left jacket pocket.
Some remaining holdouts kept up the occupation after Bundy and the others were arrested on Jan. 26. Four remaining people at the refuge surrendered Feb. 11.
Prosecutors also played video shot by occupiers themselves and which was posted to social media.
The wildlife refuge contains artifacts of significance to the Burns Paiute Tribe.
Defense attorneys called a member of the Siletz tribe who went to the refuge during the occupation and said no Native American artifacts were harmed, and who testified that she later felt intimidated by an FBI agent, KGW reported.
One of the protesters on trial, Shawna Cox, told KGW Wednesday she looked forward to the defense presenting its case.
"We got kind of slammed by the prosecutors," she told the station. "Now it's our day to kind of come back and prove our case and show the truth."
Last week, an Oregon State Police trooper testified a government informant was driving Ammon Bundy when the Oregon standoff leader was arrested, The Associated Press reported.
Trooper Jeremiah Beckert testified on Sept. 21 that the informant alerted police that Bundy and other occupiers were traveling Jan. 26 and provided their location. He said he did not see what happened to Finicum.
The charge of conspiracy to impede federal employees from doing their duties carries up to six years in prison.