PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sixteen of the 25 suspects accused in the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge entered not guilty pleas in a federal court appearance in downtown Portland Wednesday.
Only 10 of the 16 were in the courtroom — 6 waived their appearance — on one count of felony conspiracy.
U.S. District Judge Anna Brown set an April 29 trial date, though that seems unlikely to occur. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said a superseding indictment with additional charges was likely.
Judge Brown made it a point to remind everyone that the presumption of innocence still exists for each of them.
But a handful of defendants, including Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne, said being locked up is taking away from that presumption of innocence.
One of them, Jason Patrick, said: “You’re the federal government; you’re going to do whatever you want.”
Ammon Bundy wanted to address the court and wanted to make arrangement s to be taken down to Harney County. But in a very stern tone Judge Brown told him to sit down and denied his request.
Prosecutors filed a motion Tuesday to push back the trial dates for those arrested following the standoff and want a federal judge to deem the case complex because of the large number of defendants and other issues, which would likely send the case into 2017.
Defense attorney Lisa Hay filed a document opposing those efforts.
Wednesday, the judge told the US Attorneys Office she does not want to delay the case and wants to see it resolved. She said the US Attorneys Office should move more quickly.
On Thursday and Friday, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will be open to the defense teams for a total of 13 hours. They will be allowed to take video and pictures of the site. It will be their first look at the scene of the 41-day standoff.
The Associated Press contributed to this report