Prosecutors: Deny Ryan Payne’s motion to undo plea

Bundy and six co-defendants went ahead to trial and were found not guilty.

Ryan Payne in a courtroom sketch from his federal court appearance Wednesday, January 27, 2016. (Abigail Marble/Sketch Artist)
Ryan Payne in a courtroom sketch from his federal court appearance Wednesday, January 27, 2016. (Abigail Marble/Sketch Artist)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The government has asked a judge to deny Oregon standoff defendant Ryan Payne’s request to withdraw his guilty plea.

The Montana man admitted in July that he conspired with Ammon Bundy and others to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildfire Refuge.

Bundy and 6 co-defendants went ahead to trial and were found not guilty.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said Monday that Payne has failed to identify a fair and just reason to undo his plea deal. He says Payne knew his co-defendants planned to mount a vigorous defense and that an acquittal was a distinct possibility.

A total of 11 defendants pleaded guilty before the Bundy trial. So far, nobody else has tried to withdraw their plea.