Appealing conviction, Ammon Bundy accuses Idaho House Speaker Bedke of lying under oath
Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — Ammon Bundy has accused Idaho’s speaker of the House of lying under oath.
Bundy, who on Sept. 16 announced that he would be appealing his July conviction on charges of misdemeanor trespassing and resisting or obstructing officers, released a statement on Thursday accusing Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, of lying on the stand during Bundy’s trial — something Bedke then denied.
In May, Bedke announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor of Idaho, and Bundy announced a gubernatorial run as a Republican in June.
On the day of his conviction in July, Bundy said he had “no intention” of appealing the jury’s decision. But he changed his mind this month at the urging of his attorneys, according to his statement.
“I will give my attorneys the chance to make this right!” he said.
Bundy’s conviction stemmed from an incident at the Idaho Capitol in August 2020, when he and a group of his followers were protesting COVID-19 public health measures during a special session of the Legislature.
A meeting of the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, scheduled to be held in the Lincoln Auditorium, was relocated after a man was arrested for sitting in a part of the room designated for representatives of the media. Members of the public were allowed to stay in the auditorium, however, where the relocated meeting was being broadcast.
At Bundy’s trial, Bedke testified that he ordered the room to be closed after the hearing ended, adding that the auditorium is not a part of the Statehouse that is normally open to the public unless state business is being conducted there. Bundy and a co-defendant, Aaron Schmidt, of Coeur d’Alene, were arrested after refusing to follow police orders to leave the auditorium. Bundy was wheeled out of the building in a chair when he became “dead weight,” according to an Idaho State Police trooper’s testimony.
“People can’t just hang out there,” Bedke said at trial. The business of the hearing had concluded, it was past 5 p.m. and “it was time to go,” the speaker testified.
Other Republican lawmakers testified at Bundy’s hearing, saying that they understood the auditorium to be generally open.
In his statement Thursday, Bundy said that “Scott Bedke, Speaker of the House, under oath lied about the time the Lincoln auditorium was closed.”
In an interview with the Idaho Statesman on Thursday, Bedke denied the allegation, saying that he had ordered the room closed when the hearing ended after 5 p.m., which the speaker has the authority to do when the House is using the chamber.
“I did not lie,” he said. “I don’t think the public expects us to leave the building open until all hours of the evening. I mean, when the business is done, the building shuts down, and that’s what happened.”
Bedke said that the hearing that day, which had been about the potential liability for hospitals struggling with large numbers of COVID-19 patients, and others held during the special session were open to the public, and that the Legislature went to “great lengths” to make them accessible.
But when business wrapped up each day, the public had to leave, he said.
“This turned into a three- or four-day trial in front of a jury of his peers, and they convicted him unanimously,” Bedke said. “End of story.”