Last defendant sentenced in Malheur refuge takeover

Oregon
Blain Cooper, 36, and fellow protesters stand in the seized Malheur Nation Refuge complex about 30 miles from Burns. The group wants federal la_260873

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – An Arizona man has become the final person sentenced for participating in the armed takeover of a wildlife refuge in southeastern Oregon.

Blaine Cooper of Humboldt was sentenced Tuesday to time already served in prison. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy nearly two years ago.

He was one of 26 people initially charged with conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The group seized the bird sanctuary Jan. 2, 2016, and held it for 41 days in a protest against the imprisonment of two ranchers.

Fourteen defendants ultimately pleaded guilty to either conspiracy or trespassing, and another four were convicted by a jury. Sentences ranged from probation to three years in prison.

Seven defendants, including occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were acquitted in a trial ending in October 2016. Charges were dropped against another defendant.

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