Jury hears Facebook evidence in refuge standoff trial

Ammon Bundy and his lawyer in court on Tuesday, Sept. 13 (Sketch by Deborah Marble)

Day four of the trial of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers was spent looking at the defendants' Facebook accounts.

Four FBI agents took the stand answering questions on the 23 accounts they sifted through.

Government prosecutors were trying to back up the charges of threats and conspiracy.

Investigators found pictures, phrases, and even emoticons they said represented occupiers' attempts to get more people to come to Oregon.

They highlighted Ammon Bundy's response to a Facebook follower who asked if it was a rally, or a call to action.

Bundy responded, "I would never show up to a rally without my arms."

The defense made the claim the social media posts were open to interpretation, and Judge Anna Brown agreed, but allowed the posts gave insight into the defendants' state of mind.

But the defense used Facebook to make their case too.

Kenneth Medenbach's attorney specifically pointed out that Medenbach's name was not found in the Facebook posts uncovered by the FBI, and agents agreed.

Also on Friday, Bureau of Land Management officer Jason Curry and Burns BLM assistant district manager Jeffrey Rose testified that the possibility of more armed people coming to occupy refuge property was enough of a threat for them to close the Malheur office.

Prosecutors also showed surveillance video of Ammon Bundy, Kenneth Medenbach and others putting up their own "closed permanently" signs on BLM property.

Brown also ruled on Bundy's motion for a mistrial regarding witness statements and descriptions in previous days' testimony.

The trial continues Monday with employees of the wildlife refuge expected to take the stand.

Federal prosecutors say they should be done presenting their case in about a week and a half.

The trial is expected to last until early November.

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