A federal judge on Thursday refused to release Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, saying his history of ignoring court orders makes it unlikely he would return to court.
Bundy, 69, is accused of leading a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents who seized his cattle after two decades of illegally grazing them on public land and refusing to pay grazing fees.
"You say you'll continue to do 'whatever it takes,'" U.S. Magistrate Judge Carl Hoffman said in a Las Vegas courtroom where some Bundy backers wore brown T-shirts emblazoned with the three-word slogan.
"I do not believe, Mr. Bundy, that you will comply with my court orders any more than you have complied with previous court orders," the judge said.
Bundy’s lawyers produced letters from supporters saying the rancher is not a threat, and offered to put up a deed worth $20,000 as collateral to ensure he returns to court, NBC affiliate KSNV in Las Vegas reported. Hoffman ordered Bundy held without bail.
Bundy’s wife, Carol Bundy, told reporters outside court that the government has no right to keep him jailed. Four of her sons and over a dozen other people are also charged in connection with the 2014 standoff.
"If Cliven Bundy was a threat I wouldn’t want him home,” Carol Bundy said. “I would love to have my husband and my sons and all the patriots home with their families so they can prepare to fight for this.”
"He’s not a flight risk like they said, but there again, show me where the federal government should have a right to even decide this,” she said.
Two Bundy sons, Ammon and Ryan, are also charged in a weeks-long armed occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge staged in protest of federal control over public land.