A federal jury on Thursday acquitted Oregon militia leader Ammon Bundy and six others of all weapons and conspiracy charges they faced in a case stemming from their takeover this past winter of a federal wildlife facility in the state.
Bundy's weekslong standoff with authorities centered on his followers' occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Bundy, his brother Ryan and five others were arrested after an FBI raid Jan. 26 in which one member of the Bundy movement died amid gunfire.
The seven co-defendants faced charges including conspiracy to prevent government employees at the facility from doing their jobs, as well as firearm possession in a federal facility, local outlet KATU reported.
The acquittals came mere hours after the jury in the case started deliberating Thursday morning, the Oregonian reported.
Experts pointed to the Bundy group's seizure of the refuge as evidence of the rise of far-right extremism in recent years, part of a backlash against the federal government under President Barack Obama.
Ammon and Ryan Bundy aren't yet out of the legal woods. Along with their father, Cliven Bundy, they face a trial in 2017 stemming from a 2014 standoff with federal authorities at Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch.