Montana Man Denied Request to Withdraw Plea
An Anaconda, Montana man and Oregon federal refuge occupier Ryan Payne, has been denied a request to withdraw his guilty plea by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Anna Brown ruled Wednesday that Payne’s plea in the Oregon case wasn’t, as his attorney argued, contingent on reaching a plea agreement in another case against him in Nevada. Brown wrote in her 32-page ruling that Payne’s factual statements supporting his guilty plea were both thorough and unequivocal.
Payne, of Anaconda, acknowledged in July that he conspired with others to obstruct Interior Department employees during their 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He’s one of 11 defendants to plead guilty before others in the case went to trial and were found not guilty. Payne was one of three co-defendants who filed motions to withdraw guilty pleas. In Nevada, he’s accused of organizing “armed protection” in the 2014 standoff over Cliven Bundy’s cattle.