BOISE (KIVI) – Far-right activist Ammon Bundy was scheduled to appear in court Monday morning in connection with a civil lawsuit brought by the St. Luke’s Health System, as court proceedings for jury selection were set to commence.
St. Luke’s is accusing Bundy and his associate Diego Rodriguez of making defamatory statements against the hospital and its employees after Rodriguez’s 10-month old grandson was temporarily removed from his family and taken to St. Luke’s amid health concerns in March 2022.
However, neither Bundy nor Rodriguez appeared for the proceedings. In the courtroom, Judge Nancy Baskin acknowledged the unusual situation of the defendant not participating.
However, over the course of a few hours, 15 jurors were seated, and three alternates were selected, according to Christine Myron, Treasure Valley Public Relations Manager for St. Luke’s.
Opening statements will now begin Tuesday in Ada County District Court.
The lawsuit stems from a protest held by Bundy and his People’s Rights Group last year after the grandchild of Rodriguez was hospitalized by child protective services against the family’s will.
Reports say the child was malnourished and at risk of injury or death, and the parents had refused a state welfare check.
During the protest some followers allegedly called for violence causing the hospital to go into lockdown, spending millions on having to hire additional security and safety gear.
Earlier this year a judge filed a motion for contempt against the former gubernatorial candidate for refusing to show up in court and a judge issued an arrest warrant for him. That warrant has not yet been served.
In social media posts, Bundy claims he is innocent, and that people have the right to defend themselves.
KIVI reached out to Bundy for comment, but have not heard back from him.
In a letter dated July, 10, found on the People’s Rights website, Bundy addressed Judge Baskin directly, saying, “As the new presiding judge, you are now administering the process that will allow St. Luke’s executives to take everything I own, by force. This is not justice in any way, and I will not allow my property to be taken by force as long as I am alive and free.”