By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
Former gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy pleaded guilty to misdemeanor trespassing Monday rather than proceed with the trial set for this week.
The trespassing charge stems from an incident when Bundy refused to leave the property of St. Luke’s Hospital in Meridian in March 2022.
Ada County Magistrate Judge Annie McDevitt sentenced Bundy to 90 days in jail, but suspended 78 days and credited him for the 12 days he already served at the time of his arrest. Bundy will serve one year of unsupervised probation and must pay $1,157 in fees, according to court record. He will serve no additional jail time for the crime, unless he violates the terms of his probation.
The protest happened when Bundy supporter Diego Rodriguez’s grandson was taken to the hospital by police in Meridian. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reportedly believed the child was in medical danger, and when the child’s parents did not cooperate, DHW contacted police.
The state returned the child to his parents less than a week later.
Bundy faces a separate lawsuit from St. Luke’s Health System over a related incident. The lawsuit, filed in May 2022, claims Bundy and supporters made false statements against the hospital and led protests that resulted in a temporary lockdown at St. Luke’s in downtown Boise. The lockdown resulted in ambulances being diverted to other hospitals. It also alleges the defendants disparaged St. Luke’s, its CEO Chris Roth, and a St. Luke’s physician and nurse practitioner.
A statement posted Saturday to Bundy’s “Keep Idaho Idaho” website included a call-to-action asking people to attend the trial, scheduled to begin Monday. The call-to-action called the judge biased and claimed the charge was an example of political retaliation.
But later Saturday, Bundy called off the action, citing the lawsuit as the reason he was taking the plea deal. He told people not to come to the courthouse.
“My desire, in all I have done, was never to overturn the courts and make the judges start administering justice as the law prescribes,” Bundy wrote. “I never wanted to spend my life fighting in the courts. In-fact, after coming home from being in federal prison for two years – never convicted of even one charge – and going through two major federal trials, my desire was to never enter a courtroom again. I only wanted then, and still today, to be left alone. So, making this agreement in the CRIMINAL case is an effort to extend an olive branch to St. Luke’s executives. To show that I simply want to be left alone.”
The lawsuit, filed in civil court, remains ongoing and is separate from the criminal charge, which is filed by a prosecutor.