Malheur defendant wants new judge for bench trial

Duane Ehmer says U.S. District Judge Anna Brown might not be impartial

Duane Ehmer in an appearance in US Federal Court in downtown Portland, Jan. 28, 2016 (Abigail Marble/Sketch Artist)
Duane Ehmer in an appearance in US Federal Court in downtown Portland, Jan. 28, 2016 (Abigail Marble/Sketch Artist)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon man has asked for a different federal judge to handle his bench trial on misdemeanor charges stemming from last winter’s armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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)

Duane Ehmer and his attorney said in a court filing late Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Anna Brown might not be impartial.

Ehmer is one of seven defendants preparing for a jury trial this month on felony charges filed after the 41-day standoff in southeastern Oregon.

Judge Brown ruled that misdemeanor charges faced by Ehmer and others will be heard in a separate trial before a judge.

Ehmer says that judge shouldn’t be Brown. He cites comments she reportedly made in a private meeting with jurors who acquitted standoff leader Ammon Bundy in a trial last fall.