NEVADA -- It’s been one year since Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy made headlines after an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agents, and, in the end, the government backed off from seizing cattle in connection with the more than $1 million they claim Bundy owes them for grazing fees.
To commemorate the date this weekend, Bundy and his family are hosting a “Liberty Celebration” at their ranch. Among those invited are cowboys, politicians, the militia, anyone who ‘enjoys freedom’ and the media.
However, despite the party, the government’s case against Bundy remains open.
“I suspect we haven’t seen the final shoe drop on this, and the next shoe to drop may well be some sort of criminal prosecution,” said Bob Keiter, a law professor at the University of Utah.
The Bundy showdown generated headlines last April and found its way into Keiter’s lectures, where the focus is on public lands disputes.
“Mr. Bundy asserts that the federal government does not own these lands, and he’s simply wrong,” Keiter said.
The land in question, according to Keiter, has been under federal control since the 19th century. However, in 1993, there was a move toward more stringent grazing regulations, due to wildlife concerns. That is when Bundy stopped paying, according to the BLM.
“It’s no surprise that there are some conflicts,” Keiter said. “The scope and depth of this particular confrontation, that involved firearms and the like, seems to have gone beyond what I can recall happening in the past.”
But federal agents have remained mum about where their investigation into Bundy stands.
Following the standoff on April 12, 2014, the BLM stated safety concerns had forced them to withdraw from the area. They released nearly 400 cattle belonging to Bundy and left.
FOX 13 News reached out to the agency for comment, Friday. Celia Boddington, assistant director for communications, sent the following statement:
"The Bureau of Land Management remains resolute in addressing issues involved in efforts to gather Mr. Bundy's cattle last year and we are pursuing the matter through the legal system. Our primary goal remains, as it was a year ago, to resolve this matter safely and according to the rule of the law.”