Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy walked free from the federal courthouse Monday for the first time since his arrest two years ago on charges that he led an armed rebellion against the government in 2014.
Bundy, 71, was greeted by cheers from a crush of supporters who jammed a courtroom and greeted him outside with hugs, placards, cards, tears and cries of “liberty” and “freedom.”
An hour earlier, Bundy sat stoically in prison garb and shackles as a judge dismissed the case against him, two of his sons and a militia supporter, saying federal prosecutors violated the men’s rights to a fair trial by withholding evidence.
“I’m not used to being free,” Bundy said as he emerged from an elevator into the court’s lobby alongside his wife and attorney. “I have been a political prisoner for more than 700 days.”
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro said federal prosecutors acted recklessly and engaged in a “deliberate attempt to mislead and distort the truth” by failing to turn over evidence that could have helped exonerate the four defendants.
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