Defense lawyer says more evidence needed for Bunkerville retrial


Prosecutors have two months to strengthen their case against some of the people charged in the Bunkervilled standoff.

A federal judge in Las Vegas declared a mistrial, after jurors failed to reach a verdict for several defendants.

One person was convicted of two charges and another convicted of eight. The jury was hung on the remaining four men. All were facing 10 charges.

How did the government failed to getconvictions? Some called the prosecution’s case weak and others say it was too complicated.

It was an emotional rollercoaster for many that came to an unexpected end.

“I left my home in Montana to support these families and I intend to stay until it’s over with,” supporter John Lamb said.

Fifty-three-year-old Gregory Burleson was found guilty of threatening and assaulting a federal officer, the charge comes with a minimum of 57 years in prison.

“If the jurors cannot reach a unanimous verdict on every account, that’s considered a mistrial, essentially it’s a do-over,” criminal defense lawyer Mace Yampolski said. “In federal, when it’s 57 years, it’s 57 years. There’s no parole.”

Todd Engel was also found guilty of obstruction and traveling across state lines in aid of extortion, he faces up to 30 years. Many supporters of those six defendants called today’s mistrial a victory.

“Right at this point in time, I’m looking at it as a victory, you know, we’ll see, we’ll see what happens after it pans out,” supporter Brand Thornton said.

Yampolski says prosecutors will have to bring a more convincing case next time.

“The government will re-try them. They don’t have to, but with all the publicity and the hoopla of course they’re going to re try these defendants,” Yampolski added.

Another defense attorney spoke to jurors following the verdict. Todd Leventhal represents Scott Drexler, one of the defendants who may face a re-trial, and was told jurors were overwhelmed by the amount of evidence.

“This was a tsunami of video evidence, of written evidence of theirs so, millions of documents and so I always said I was behind you know, just trying to get, get up to speed on everything so there’ll be a lot of things that I’m ready for,” Leventhal said. “They can’t come to an agreement on any of the conspiracy charges. We thought that from sitting in the court room that they’d really have proven a conspiracy.”

Leventhal also says the jurors didn’t believe law enforcement officers who testified during the trial.

The judge has set a re-trial date for June 26th.

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