News Opinions / Op-eds

State of Idaho v. Ammon Bundy

This story begins on Mar 13th 2020 when Governor Little put the State of Idaho under emergency order. In my opinion he only used this power to get federal money and arbitrary authority. Idaho at the time only had one COVID case according to the governor’s official website. I began looking at what other states were doing and could see clearly a return of things I had seen in the past with my family and land users all across the west. Patterns of government officials claiming people’s rights and turning them into privileges by using the force of law without constitutional jurisdictional or due process. I vowed to stand against these orders if they tried to implement them in Idaho. Sure enough, just a few days later, on March 25, 2020, Governor Little issued an Extreme Emergency proclamation, implementing a Self-Isolation Order, requiring all residents residing in Idaho to stay in their homes and closed down all “non-essential” businesses. This was on a Tuesday. That same day I called for a public meeting for Thursday in my warehouse to talk about the self-isolation order and how we would combat against the misuse of the governor’s power. I invited anyone who would listen. About 35 people showed up and this was the birth of the People’s Rights Network (PRN). As the tyranny continued our group rapidly grew, reaching tens of thousands of members in almost every U.S. State and into Canada. People’s Rights Network groups in Idaho were meeting all across the state trying to find some legal remedy to combat the governor’s oppressive orders.

In our search, we soon found that legally the governor is only permitted to hold emergency powers for 30 days and in an extreme emergency he can extend it for an additional 30 days. The law is quite clear that if the governor doesn’t relinquish the powers within 60 days and assemble the legislature, then on the 90th day the legislature “shall convene” on their own. The purpose for the legislature convening on the 90th day is obvious, it is to end the emergency orders and take that power from the governor back to the legislature. The emergency order issued on March 13th was done under Idaho Statute 46-1008 and the Extreme Emergency order issued on March 25th was under Martial Law code using Idaho Statute 46-601.

Before we informed the legislators of the legal requirements and remedy, we obtained 2 legal opinions from law firms, agreed that our interpretation of the law was correct. We issued letters to the entire legislature by certified mail explaining their duty to assemble on the 90th day according to the law, being June 23rd, 2020. 20 or so of the legislators refused to accept the certified letter and the letters were returned by mail. The other legislators accepted the letter and we were in communications with those that were friendly to us. Soon after we informed the legislators of the legal remedies and duty to end the order on the 90th day, Lawrence Wasden, Governor Little’s Attorney General claimed that our interpretation of the law was incorrect and that the legislature could not assemble without the governor’s permission. In consequence, we wound up with only 15 legislators from the House of Representatives and none from the Senate that assembled on June 23rd, while the rest were afraid or refused. Many of the absent legislators cited Lawrence Wasden interpretation as the reason for not assembling, claiming they didn’t have authority to assemble without Governor Little’s permission. Of course, this does not make any sense, since the legislature has the power to end the emergency order at any time according to ISC 46-1008 and the law also demands the legislature to convene on the 90th day. But most legislators refused to assemble because Lawrence Wasden (Governor Little’s attorney) said the legislature could not legally assemble without permission from the Governor (the very person they are trying to take power from). 

As much as we tried, we couldn’t talk any sense into the legislators. They were either afraid or they just didn’t want to go against the governor and end the emergency orders. When the 15 legislators assembled, people filled the house gallery and overflowed into the hallways. The legislators in attendance were not able to do anything more than issue a resolution, not having enough members to form a quorum. This caused a lot of frustration between the people and the legislature. People had been educated, the legislators knew what the law said, we showed them the legal way to end the emergency order, the law was clear and the people knew they should not be held under these emergency powers indefinitely. Yet, the legislature turned a blind eye on the People of Idaho and allowed Governor Little to hold onto these oppressive emergency powers unlawfully while the lives of Idahoans across the state were being turned upside down.

Throughout this period of time, a liberty alliance was created between Idaho Freedom Foundation, Idaho 2nd Amendment Alliance, Health Freedom Idaho, John Birch Society, Freedom Tabernacle and the Peoples Rights Network, among others. We coordinated efforts to get the legislature back into session and end the governor’s emergency orders. Shortly after the legislature refused to convene, Governor Little announced that he was going to assemble the legislature to pass an Immunity Bill that would legally protect him and large corporations (hospitals) from any damage that his COVID orders may have caused or will cause. Governor Little and his attorneys were anticipating massive lawsuits because of the damages they were causing to the People of Idaho. Major pushback on mask and vaccination mandates, along with the closing of what they considered “nonessential” businesses were rising throughout the state. Little and Wasden wanted protection by the courts from lawsuits that were sure to ensue.

The People’s Rights Network (PRN) along with the other liberty groups were educating and disseminating information out to all their contacts in Idaho. We wanted people to understand the remedies in the law and expose the facts that Governor Little was trying to pass an Immunity Bill to protect himself and his friends. Furthermore, we called for people to come to the Idaho Capitol building on August 24th 2020, the day Governor Little called the legislature into Special Session to pass the bill. The goal was to fill the Idaho Capitol with people, showing the legislators that we were concerned about the Immunity Bill. However, what we did not know was that Governor Little, working with Idaho State Police and the Department of Administration, had targeted our liberty alliance and labeled us as anti-government groups. They claimed we were dangerous and a threat to government officials. They also laid out a contingency plan to trespass and remove us from the Idaho Capitol building before the legislature session began. In an official report for “law enforcement eyes only”, they listed our liberty groups by name, with my full name on the list, as targets for trespass and removal from the Idaho Capitol building. This was what they called a “Countermeasure Plan” to deal with all of these so-called anti-government groups, including the Idaho 2nd Amendment Alliance, Peoples Rights Network, Health Freedom Idaho and Freedom Tabernacle. They went so far as to seek blanket authority from the Speaker of the House and Senate Pro Tempore to trespass anyone Idaho State Police sought to.

On August 24th the first day of this Special Legislative Session, seeking to pass the governors Immunity Bill, there were approximately 300 people (not including the legislators or state officials) that came to attend the session. At the time, Idaho State Police and the capitol security had the House Galley doors closed so the people could not enter and begin sitting down. People packed the hallway and into the rotunda on the house level of the building. We did not think much of the doors being closed because the session had not started yet. However, shortly before the session began several more Idaho State Police officers moved to the House Gallery doors as the capitol security began allowing a few people to enter one by one. After 27 people entered Idaho State Police troopers shut and blocked the House Gallery doors restricting the majority of the people from entering. Very few people understood what was happening and never in the history of Idaho had the people been kept out of the legislative proceedings in the Idaho Capitol building. Several people knew the law about access and began to recite it to the Idaho State troopers and their Sargent, Blake Higley, but they did not seem to care. They had been ordered by Speaker of the House Representative, Scott Bedke to close the doors to the House Chamber and not allow anyone in no matter what the law was. Just so the reader understands the Idaho House and Senate Joint rules (Idaho Law) I cite them below.


The Chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be open, during any regular or special session…


All regular meetings of any standing, special or select committee of the House of Representatives shall be open to the public at all times. Any person may attend any meeting of any standing or select or special committee…

The Idaho law is very clear on this matter. The House and Senate Joint Rules require that anytime legislation is being discussed in the chambers or committee rooms (that would include the gallery) the doors must be open to the public at all times. Speaker of the House, Scott Bedke and Idaho State Police Sergeant, Blake Higley, along with the other ISP troopers, violated Idaho Law and blocked people from coming into the proceedings.

This caused many who wanted to watch and participate in the proceedings to be upset. They began chanting “this is our house; this is our house”. I was among those who were blocked out in the hallway. I was not leading anyone but was in the middle of the crowd in awe, once again showing how far Idaho State Police troopers were willing go to enforce an unlawful order directly against the people’s rights. Eventually, I was able to work my way up to the front of the crowd by the House Gallery doors. People started to pull the doors open (including myself) and push their way in. Idaho State Police troopers were trying to stop us and a physical tug a war ensued for several minutes. Sometime during this struggle an ISP trooper’s gun (holstered on his hip) hit the glass on one of the doors and the glass shattered. This caused everyone to come to a standstill.

Idaho State Police Sergeant, Blake Higley and Speaker of the House, Scott Bedke finally agreed to back down the Idaho State troopers. They then tried to get me to go into a back room and negotiate with them. I made it clear (to all that could hear) that I was not in charge and had no authority to negotiate for anyone but myself. After some back and forth, Speaker Scott Bedke finally agreed to let everyone in but asked that everyone follow the normal decorum in the gallery. Everyone seemed to be okay with that and the people calmed down as they entered the gallery in an orderly manner and took their seats.

Normal decorum in the House gallery requires that no one stand while in session. Also, once the seats in the gallery are full then overflow rooms must be provided. Knowing this, I helped direct people to come into the House gallery and fill the seats, not taking a seat for myself. After all the seats were full, I intentionally went down to an overflow room to show that I was willing to follow the normal decorum and that I was not there to cause any problems. I only wanted to participate and observe the session proceedings for a short time.

The proceedings continued until the House of Representatives broke out into a committee, which they designated to a small room on the east wing not large enough to hold the amount of people wanting to attend. Representative Greg Chaney was the Committee Chairman and tried to limit people from coming into the committee room. No overflow room was made available and the people were not willing to be locked out of the proceeding again. Very upset that the people would not obey him Chairman Chaney threw a fit, flailing his arms around like a child who didn’t get his way and then stomping out of the room. Eventually, they moved the hearing to the Lincoln Auditorium, a much bigger venue suitable to handle such a large crowd.

When the hearing began the Lincoln Auditorium was packed with every seat full and people standing on the sides and back of the room. Chairman Greg Cheney was not savvy enough to realize that the majority of the people in the room had never been to the Idaho Capitol building before and he kept trying to assert his authority and get the people to follow his decorum. The people at first seemed to be unruly (not happy with the way they were disrespected earlier that day) but eventually they calmed down and began to better understand the committee hearing decorum and proceedings. Chairman Chaney also stopped throwing his fits and became more patient with the people, from time to time he would explain a part of the decorum to the people as the proceeding went along. The hearing went on for hours and by the end of the day everything was working well. Cheney was not trying to exercise his authority over the crowd as he did earlier, people were being patient and things were running quite smoothly. Not able to finish the proceedings that day, it was scheduled to continue the next day, August 25th, 2020.

Before going to the Capitol building that day, I had only planned on attending the first part of the session and was scheduled to leave after an hour and a half. I just wanted to show my presence and support and then leave. I had a meeting with the Emmett School District Superintendent that afternoon and was not planning on being there the following day either. However, the buildup and presence of so many Idaho State Police troopers by the end of the day was eerie. That night, after praying and talking to Lisa, I decided to go back the following day to support the people that would be attending.

I didn’t quite know when the hearing was going to start so I showed up almost an hour early. When I came down the hallway there were about 15 or so Idaho State troopers right around the front of the Lincoln Auditorium room doors. They appeared to be discussing some type of a plan, pointing and looking into the room and area. As I came down the hallway they appeared very surprised to see me so early as I walked right through the middle of them. Like someone that got caught talking bad about another person, they looked at each other a little sheepishly and then split apart so I could go into the room. Then quickly they dispersed from the area. I thought to myself how strange their actions were but did not understand what they were doing until later that day. After going into the room, I took a seat in the back row of the auditorium, having already testified the day before, I was just there to observe and support the people testifying.

Eventually the room filled up again, but before the hearing began, I overheard Miste Karlfeldt, who was reporting for a private network in association with Pete Santelli and Bryan Bowermaster an independent reporter discussing something with the House Sergeant in Arms, Jeff Wall in the back of the room. The conversation was something about where the reporters could sit for the meeting but I did not pay much attention to it. As credentialed press, during the entire hearing the day before, both Brian Bowermaster and Miste Karlfeldt sat in the press box in the front of the seating area. As soon as the hearing began Jeff Wall, House Sergeant in Arms walked down to the stage, behind Chairman Cheney and whispered something into his ear. Immediately, Greg Chaney stopped the proceedings and pointed to the two independent reporters sitting in the press area and said they needed special permission to sit in the Press Box. They replied to Chairman Cheney that they were permitted to sit there the day before, no one else was sitting in the press box and that they had their press credentials to report on this hearing. Chaney then slammed his gavel down and said “Our friends are going to take care of this!”. Immediately, 15 or so Idaho State Police troopers (the same troopers that I had seen earlier planning something before the hearing began) came through the door. It was as if they were just waiting for the signal from Representative Chaney to enter the room. The Idaho State Police troopers rushed down the aisle and proceeded to arrest, dragging Miste Karlfeldt and Brian Bowermaster out of the room.  No one understood why the Idaho State Police troopers were acting the way they were. In their hasty assault the troopers knocked over a stroller with a baby in it. The mother began to scream and this further concerned the people in the room. It was as if the Idaho State Police troopers were dragging out a couple of gangsters from a crime scene, which also upset many of the attendees who knew Miste & Bryan. This disrupted the entire meeting (so much for decorum). Chairman Chaney then proceeded to tell the committee member that they were moving the meeting back to the smaller room they had started in the day before. Chairman Chaney reopened the hearing in the east wing room while 12 Idaho State Police troopers blocked the entrance to the committee room not allowing people to enter as they continued to hold the hearing behind closed doors. Once again in direct violation to House Rule 26.


All regular meetings of any standing, special or select committee of the House of Representatives shall be open to the public at all times. Any person may attend any meeting of any standing or select or special committee…

While dragging Brian and Misty out, I walked down to the front of the Lincoln Auditorium and sat down in the press box. I was making the point that the right of the press belongs to the people, not to some state government bureaucrat who claims authority to authorize the press. I just sat there quietly while most of the room emptied out. I knew that the Lincoln Auditorium was open to the public until 7PM, along with the entire public spaces of the capitol building. My plan was to sit in the press box making my point until 7PM then go home. However, unbeknown to me Sargent Blake Higley visited Speaker Scott Bedke and got permission to clear the room at 5pm (once again against the rules). To my surprise at 5:05PM, Sargent Blake Higley marched in with 46 Idaho State Police troopers and 18 Boise City Police officers in the hallway. Never before has there been greater police present at the Idaho State Capitol than at this time. They surrounded me and Sergeant Blake Higley said, “By order of the Speaker of the House you are ordered to clear the room”. (We have all this on video). I knew legally I had till 7PM before they could impose any type of trespass, so I sat there. There were 10 or so people who were with me gathering up their belongings in the room while a slew of Idaho State Police troopers arrested me. The Idaho State Police asked me to stand so they could more easily handcuff me. I didn’t respond and continued to sit in the chair. I wasn’t going to help them with their tyrannical actions. Several of them picked me up trying to figure out how they were going to get me in handcuffs. One of the troopers removed the chair I was sitting in while another trooper brought one of the committee members chairs with rollers. They put me in the chair and wheeled me towards the Lincoln Auditorium.

Jill Watts who was outside the Lincoln Auditorium door disagreed with what the Idaho State Police troopers were doing. In consequence a large Idaho State Police trooper violently grabbed Jill by the neck and drug her into the Lincoln Auditorium, threw her over his shoulder and hauled her to the back of the room and handcuffed her on trespass charges for being in the Lincoln Auditorium. (It’s all on video). Aaron Schmidt came into the room towards the end of my arrest (he was not in the room when they demanded everyone to clear the room), he was not stopped by any trooper coming in and began videoing the actions. He had very little information of what was going on when they arrested him. They took all three of us in the back room and down through the elevator. Jill Watts was crying and in pain from the way she was manhandled. I tried to comfort her, explaining that we will be okay.

Throughout the arrest I never resisted the officers but also never assisted them. I was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. They put me in the “cold box” (as the guards unofficially call it), for 6 hours at the Ada County jail when someone bailed me out. I then walked 5 miles to Albertsons grocery store and borrowed a strangers’ phone to call my wife Lisa. It was very late when I got home, I was tired, cold and a little beat up. This was the first time I had been back in a prison cell since I was acquitted on all charges after spending 2 years in federal prison, a year of that time was in solitary confinement and therefore I was going through a bit of PTSD over this arrest. I was also aware that Aaron Schmitt was in a cell next to me and was worried for his welfare.

Very concerned about what just happened at the Idaho Capitol building and knowing that the Immunity Bill was moving forward, I planned on going back the next day and participating in proceedings. My determination was part out of stubbornness but more out of it being my right to participate in the Legislative process. Also, the Immunity Bill had left the House of Representatives, it was a watered-down version but would be sent to the Senate to be passed the next day. So, the next morning I got up, drove to the Idaho Capitol building, said a prayer and went into the Senate gallery. Shortly after sitting down an Idaho State Police trooper asked me to take off my hat. Out of respect for the decorum I immediately removed my hat (I should have removed it before but hadn’t thought about it). I sat there quietly while the proceedings went on for about an hour until they took a break. During the Senate break, Idaho State Police Sergeant Blake Higley with a whole crew of troopers and a man named Keith Reynolds (Director of the Department of Administration) came and approached me in the Senate gallery seats. Keith Reynolds tried to hand me a letter and told me that I was trespassed at the capitol building. While expressing that I had a right to participate in these proceedings, Blake Higley ordered the troopers to arrest and drag me out of the building and to the Ada County Jail. The Idaho State Police troopers roughed me up a bit in the hallway slamming me down on the concrete while I was handcuffed. After I was in the patrol car, one trooper looked around to make sure no one was looking and grabbed my jugular vein and began pinching and twisting it with all his might. Mind you, I’m handcuffed, in the patrol car and this officer secretly digs his fingers into my neck before they take me to jail. I cannot imagine what he would have done with me if he and I were alone.

Another officer took me to the Ada County Jail and they again put me in the same “cold box” as before. This time they forcefully stripped me down to my underwear with no socks and no way to keep my body warm. In federal prison, I once spent 17 days in a holding cell like this Ada County jail cell, it is no piece of cake. When they put me in the same cold box, the concrete was so cold that I could not stand or walk for very long. I also could not lay down for very long. I would take turns, standing then laying. The only way I could alleviate myself from the cold was to roll up some toilet paper, put it underneath my feet and sit on the metal toilet. This was the only minimal relief I could find from the cold as it was penetrating my whole body when lying on the ground and also my feet when standing. This back-and-forth discomfort eventually causes sleep deprivation and in time will put a person into hyperthermia. It is their way of torturing a person until they comply. Naively, hoping a judge would correct what was happening, I suffered for 28 hours before finally being let out. Very sleep deprived and frozen to the core, the warmth of the sunlight felt so good. Once again, I didn’t know where my phone was and just wanted to be left alone. I walked approximately 11 miles to my friend Diego Rodríguezes’ studio, twice finding a place to sleep, after arriving I contacted Lisa my wife. This was the afternoon of August 27, 2020. Once again, they charged me with trespassing and resisting arrest at the Idaho Capitol building.

The trail for these charges was finally set 7 months later on March 15, 2021. When Aaron Schmidt and I showed up at the courthouse to proceed with trial they would not let him nor I into the courthouse because of a mask mandate. After two hours of demanding to be allowed into our own trial, several officers came out of the courtroom and arrested Aaron and I for “failure to appear” to our trial. This time I spent another 32 hours in the same “cold box” in the Ada County jail. To further cause suffering the guards would not allow me to have any toilet paper to help alleviate the penetrating cold from transmitting into my feet and body. A magistrate judge put a $10,000 bond requirement on me the next afternoon and I was finally allowed to bail out.

Another trial date was set for July, 2021, almost a year from the first charges. Nearly this entire time, in the months I was litigating through the courts, prosecutor Whitney Welsh along with Sargent Blake Higley and Director Keith Reynolds were hiding exculpatory evidence proving that my arrest in the Senate gallery on August 26, 2020 was done without proper authority. After catching them in this coverup that case was dismissed and I was under the belief that the trespass was no longer enforceable. I believed Idaho State Police had no authority to keep me out of the capitol building because the charging instrument (the trespass letter) was written on the 26th and that case was dismissed.

At this time the Idaho Legislature was in normal session and Governor Little’s emergency orders were still in place. There was a great need to rally the people to put the right pressure on the Idaho Legislature to end the emergency orders. I was in communication with several legislators about this and wanted to get support from others. On the morning of April 8th, I left an attorney’s meeting and went to the capitol building in hopes that a could catch several legislators in their offices. Shortly after going into the capitol building once again, Idaho State Police troopers surrounded and arrested me and booked me to the Ada County Jail. This time the guards allowed me to book out sooner. Knowing that I have lawful authority to enter the Idaho Capitol building I returned and demanded that they show me the authority they had to arrest me. Idaho State Police Sergeant Blake Higley said, “He did not need authority” and arrested me again.

I have been litigating these cases ever since August 2020 and have actually considered leaving Idaho several times because the Idaho state government and courts are such a damn mess. As a point of interest, during my trial in July 2021 each and every officer that testified said, under oath, that I was never disruptive in the Idaho Capitol building and never broke any rules.

I have certified copies of government emails from multiple Idaho bureaucracies celebrating my trespass from the capitol building. One email is thanking Idaho State Police and Director Reynold for trespassing me, it is titled, “Thank you! The email starts with “Great Job, Keith!” Director Keith Reynolds replies back to Patti Perkins, Director of Idaho Department of Finance, with, “Thank you, Patti. I really appreciate your note. At least he won’t be back in January.” referencing the Legislative Session in January 2021. They were celebrating because they accomplished getting rid of my influence at the capitol for that session and the next session. Governor Little, using Idaho State Police, conjured up a way to remove me so I could not have any direct influence on the Idaho legislators to stop the Immunity Bill or to end the governor’s emergency powers. Still today, over two years later, the people of Idaho are under an emergency order held by Governor Little. Governor Little has now received $18.7 billion dollars in emergency federal COVID funds because Idaho has been in emergency status for so long. If the legislature would have ended the Governor’s emergency orders in August of 2020 or in the 2021 legislative session the Idaho bureaucracies would have missed out on billions of federal monies.

As it stands today, I have been arrested 6 times over these matters, 1 charge I am still fighting the original charges, 2 I have been convicted of but am in the process of appealing and 2 the state was compelled to dismiss because they got caught in corruption. In the trial last week, the judge ruled that we could not talk about why I was going to the capitol building, any of the previous charges including the withholding of evidence and those charges being dismissed. Nor was I allowed to talk about the U.S or Idaho Constitution or use my First Amendment rights as part of my defense.

By making this record, no why am I claiming to be a victim here, I am not. I could have just stayed home and done nothing about what was happening to Idaho and avoided this entire ordeal.

Thank you,

Ammon Bundy

7 replies on “State of Idaho v. Ammon Bundy”

Keep fighting the good fight! You have my vote. I’m sick and tired of the corruption in our legislature and state house.

It all boils down to one person the attorney general wasden and his failure to uphold the idaho constitution and the rule of law as written.

The Ada County law enforcement need thier teeth knocked out.
10000 citizens to show up an make it happen.
WAR is the answer.

What are the names of legislators who came to your defense during these ordeals? Heather Scott would be the only one id expect… …..especially re your cruel and dangerous imprisonment…You should have had a habeus prepared ahead of time and your wife/or a friend deliver it mmediately to the warden in the jail Have you thought of taking the 5th without counsel and representing yourself with only a friend of the court to assist/advise you….? Fire your useless lawyers who take their oath to the bar not the constitution nor to you. mr. little is out to get you; or your friends and family.

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