February 22 2018
BURNS, Oregon - More than a dozen people have pleaded not guilty to charges related to an armed takeover of wildlife refuge in the US state of Oregon.
The group of armed militants held the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 41 days in protest over how the federal government regulates public lands.
Eventually, FBI agents moved in to end the standoff and one man was killed.
In court on Wednesday, many of the accused questioned whether they would receive a fair trial. "You're the federal government; you're going to do whatever you want," said Jason Patrick, one of the militants.
The group's leader, Ammon Bundy, asked to accompany his defence lawyers on a fact-finding trip to the refuge, but the judge denied his request.
Prosecutors said they expected to bring additional charges against the 16 defendants. The trial date was set for 29 April though a delay is likely.