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Judge Throws Out Bundy Stand-Off Case

It was the Western shootout that never happened.

Cliven Bundy and his sons stood their ground against federal agents in an armed standoff outside his Nevada ranch. The Bundys refused -- over their dead bodies -- to pay federal grazing fees.

They were charged with multiple felonies, but they didn't stick. Like the shootout, it's like they never happened.

Losing Ground

A federal judge in Las Vegas threw out the charges, and the Bundy family walked free. It was an embarrassment to prosecutors who have lost four similar cases against the Bundys and supporters who defied the government and won.

In the case against Cliven, Ryan, and Ammon Bundy, Judge Gloria Navarro rebuked prosecutors for withholding critical evidence. She declared a mistrial last month, then granted a motion to dismiss.

According to the New York Times, the government erred primarily in failing to turn over a surreptitious video that showed F.B.I. agents were involved in the incident.

The case became a cause celebre for people who feel the government bullied the family. At least 100 backers filled the courtroom, including some with button-down shirts and cowboy boots.

Free at Last

Cliven Bundy left the building in jeans, a button-down shirt, a gray blazer and a hat. Hundreds cheered.

"I'm not used to being free, put it that way," he said. "I've been a political prisoner for right at 700 days today."

Last year, Las Vegas juries acquitted or deadlocked on charges against Bundy supporters. In Oregon, Ammon and Ryan Bundy beat felony charges stemming from a 41-day standoff at a wildlife preserve.

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