Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo took the stand Thursday in federal court to testify in the case against six men known as supporters of the controversial cattle rancher Cliven Bundy.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo was a key player in that release of cattle in Bunkerville and he shared what was going on in his mind and why he made that decision.
Six men are accused of conspiring with cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, and others, and pointing their weapons at law enforcement.
If convicted, they could spend the rest of their lives in prison.
In April of 2014, Bundy led a fight against the federal government over the court ordered seizure of his cattle which were illegally grazing on public land. Bundy refused to remove the cattle or pay fees.
The Bureau of Land Management put together a complex operation to round up the cattle, but on April 12th, Bundy supporters showed up and some of them were armed.
BLM agents and local law enforcement were outnumbered. Sheriff Lombardo helped negotiate the release of cattle so that the standoff would end peacefully.
Cameras aren’t allowed inside federal court, but this is what Lombardo told the I-Team in 2014. It was very similar to what he told reporter George Knapp.
“We were outgunned, outmanned, there would not have been a good result from it,” Lombardo said. “The bottom line is, bloodshed over cattle, unacceptable. Nobody wanted to go in that direction.”
Lombardo said, in court, he didn’t know what kind of training the armed protestors may have had. He was concerned there might be an accidental discharge or that someone would fire their gun because emotions were running so high.
There was also an extended break in court Thursday when one defendant, Gregory Burleson, had a medical issue.