Malheur occupier seeks hearing on plea request

Occupier Ryan Payne wants to withdraw his guilty plea

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) – A defense attorney for Oregon refuge occupier Ryan Payne has asked a federal judge to hold a hearing that Payne can attend in the fight to withdraw his guilty plea.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports (https://goo.gl/5sbI7s ) Payne’s lawyer said Friday Payne doesn’t want to waive his right to attend the hearing even if it’s not until after his prosecution in Nevada in the 2014 Cliven Bundy ranch standoff.

Payne filed a motion to withdraw his plea about two weeks before a federal jury acquitted Ammon Bundy and six co-defendants of a conspiracy charge in the 41-day occupation over federal control of public lands.

Payne’s lawyer, Richard Federico, said his client’s guilty plea to the Oregon federal conspiracy charge rested upon the resolution of both the Oregon and Nevada cases.

Prosecutors have argued that Payne’s guilty plea in the refuge occupation wasn’t contingent on a plea agreement in Nevada.