Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Nevada dismissed a case Monday against Cliven Bundy and his two sons related to an armed standoff in 2014.
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro, who declared a mistrial in the case Dec. 20, said prosecutors "violated due process rights" of the defendants, which included Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy and a fourth co-defendent, Ryan Payne.
Prosecutors accused the four men of failing to remove cattle from public lands. The decades-long dispute ratcheted upward in 2014, when Cliven Bundy refused to pay a $1 million bill for at least 20 years of grazing fees. His livestock grazed on public land and he refused to pay for permits.
The dispute with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management led to a standoff with federal authorities in April 2014 near Bunkerville, Nev. Dozens of men arrived at the Bundy ranch and established an armed, military-style encampment in protest; the government eventually retreated, citing the possibility of violence.
In December, Navarro cited the prosecution's failure to turn over six documents or pieces of evidence as the reason for declaring the mistrial. She said prosecutors violated the Brady rule, which requires them to disclose any evidence that could be seen as favorable to the defense.
On Monday, she dismissed the charges "with prejudice," meaning the men cannot face trial for the incident again, because of "flagrant prosecutorial misconduct."
Bret Whipple, Cliven Bundy's attorney, said his client was "just ecstatic about the results, and we're glad he's finally going home."
Kieran Suckling, executive director for the Center of Biological Diversity, said prosecutors "clearly bungled this case and let the Bundys get away with breaking the law."
"The failure of this case will only embolden this violent and racist anti-government movement that wants to take over our public lands," he added.