Malheur juror who once worked for BLM dismissed

Juror who once worked for BLM said he was "very biased" during deliberations

Rev. Franklin Graham testifies at the Malheur trial, September 29 2016. (Courtesy: Deborah Marble)
Rev. Franklin Graham testifies next to Judge Anna Brown at the Malheur trial, September 29 2016. (Courtesy: Deborah Marble)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Judge Anna Brown agreed to dismiss a juror in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff case Wednesday morning after his impartiality came into question during deliberations.

Juror 11 will be replaced with an alternate and the jury will start deliberating again from the beginning.

Jurors submitted 2 notes to Judge Brown on Tuesday, one of which revealed Juror 11 had said he was “very biased” after questions were raised by Juror 4.

Federal Judge Anna J. Brown on the opening day of the trial for the 7 defendants in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation trial, September 13, 2016 (KOIN)
Federal Judge Anna J. Brown on the opening day of the trial for the 7 defendants in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation trial, September 13, 2016 (KOIN)

Juror 11 reportedly worked as a Bureau of Land Management ranch technician and firefighter decades ago.

The BLM is under the same federal umbrella as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

During voir dire, he was asked if his connection with the BLM would affect his ability to be impartial. Not really, he replied, “that was more than 20 years ago.”

Judge Brown summoned both sides of the case in response to the notes. She met with Juror 11 Tuesday afternoon and said she found no basis he was untruthful.

On Wednesday Morning, Ammon Bundy filed a motion to have the juror dismissed or declare a mistrial. Both the prosecution and defense agreed to dismiss him.

Judge Brown sent the jury home for the day and told them to prepare to re-start deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. All prior verdict forms will be destroyed.

“You’ll have to set aside the conclusions you’ve drawn and start over,” she advised.

Alternate Juror 18 will travel to Portland from Central Oregon in time to hear Judge Brown’s jury instructions when she reads them for the second time Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report