Malheur refuge defendant Jon Ritzheimer pleads guilty

US Attorneys will recommend 2.5 years in prison for the ex-Marin

Malheur defendant Jon Ritzheimer outside US Federal Court in Portland, August 15, 2016 (KOIN)
Malheur defendant Jon Ritzheimer outside US Federal Court in Portland, August 15, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An ex-Marine who was part of the initial convoy that overtook a national wildlife refuge has pleaded guilty.

Malheur defendant Jon Ritzheimer outside US Federal Court in Portland, August 15, 2016 (KOIN)
Malheur defendant Jon Ritzheimer outside US Federal Court in Portland, August 15, 2016 (KOIN)

In federal court in Portland, Jon Ritzheimer admitted to a judge Monday that he conspired with Ammon Bundy and others to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said prosecutors will recommend 2 ½ years in prison when the Arizona man is sentenced in May.

Ritzheimer was one of the higher-profile occupiers, known for an emotional video in which he explains to his daughters why he can’t be home for the holidays. He said it was because “daddy swore an oath” to defend the Constitution.

Before coming to Oregon, he made news by organizing protests outside a Phoenix mosque and threatening to arrest a U.S. senator for supporting the Iran nuclear deal.

Jon Ritzheimer is among the armed protesters occupying a federal building in Oregon. (Undated, Jon Ritzheimer)
Jon Ritzheimer is among the armed protesters occupying a federal building in Oregon. (Undated, Jon Ritzheimer)

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