Judge rules militia’s Pete Santilli to be detained until trial

Santilli among 16 people under federal indictment

Pete Santilli led about 100 protesters who gathered at the Safeway parking lot in Burns, Oregon in a rally over 2 men convicted of arson on federal lands, Jan. 2, 2016 (via YouTube stream)
Pete Santilli at a protest in Burns, Jan. 2, 2016.(via YouTube stream)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Pete Santilli, the right-wing online talk show host who embedded with the militia at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, will remain in federal custody until his trial.

Santilli appealed an earlier, similar ruling.

U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman said Santilli’s history does not favor detention and that the weight of the evidence cuts in his favor.

However, Mosman said he believes Santilli’s confession to having many registered and unregistered guns will pose a risk to law enforcement.

Prosecutors used videos of Santilli’s online talk show to bolster their claims seeking detention until trial.

In one, an episode from June 2015, Santilli unleashes a rant against the FBI.

“I will die a free man, watch me,” Santilli said at one point in the video clip. Later he said, “They will not take me away.”

His defense attorney tried to counter the video clips with arguments but the judge was not persuaded.

Judge Mosman said he did not consider Santilli — who lives in Ohio — to be a flight risk, but the confession about his cache of guns was enough to sway the decision.

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The decision about Santilli’s detention came on the same day the federal indictments were unsealed against him and 15 others.

The FBI arrested Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne, Joseph O’Shaughnessy, Peter Santilli, Duane Ehmer, Jason Patrick and Dylan Anderson on probable cause. Six were arrested during a traffic stop along Hwy 395, others arrested at or near the refuge.

Arizona resident Jon Ritzheimer was also arrested in connection to the occupation but remains in custody in Arizona.

Two — Cox and O’Shaughnessy — have been ordered released to their homes.

Photos: Armed militia at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Each has been charged with one felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats.

On Wednesday, prosecutors presented the judge with a sealed indictment against the group. Defense attorneys asked to see the indictment but they were denied for 24 hours, when the indictments were unsealed.

Arraignment is scheduled for February 24.

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