ROCHESTER - The wife of the Rochester man facing a long prison sentence for his alleged involvement in the 2014 armed standoff with federal agents at Cliven Bundy's Nevada cattle ranch said today she was furious a judge waited seven months before announcing their refusal to withdraw his guilty plea without so much as a hearing.
"Is this what's known as a speedy trial in federal courts?" an exasperated Susan DeLemus questioned today.
Jerry DeLemus filed to withdraw his guilty plea last October after learning an Oregon jury had found two of Bundy's sons - Ammon and Ryan - along with five others innocent in a similar standoff in January 2016 at a federal wildlife sanctuary in Oregon.
The two brothers, ironically, are now incarcerated on separate charges with DeLemus at CCA's Southern Nevada Detention Center in Pahrump, where a protest accusing prison guards of torturing both of them has been ongoing for at least a week.
|Susan DeLemus, with her husband, Gerry|
Ryan Bundy actually filed a federal lawsuit in late April accusing guards of strip- and cavity-searching him multiple times a day where his clothes were removed and genitals exposed.
He also stated that while in disciplinary segregation, he has been deprived of a working toilet and toilet paper. In early May reports of the alleged guard abuse surfaced on Youtube reports, and the Nye County Sheriff's Department was asked to investigate.
"A thorough investigation by the Nye County Sheriff's Office at the privately operated facility found that the actions taken by the Detention Center staff did not rise to the level of a criminal violation under Nevada Revised Statutes," the office said Monday in an emailed statement to the Nevada Review-Journal newspaper of Las Vegas.
"The protesters are there to support Ryan and Amman," Susan DeLemus added. "Ammon was tortured, he was put in a shower in handcuffs for 13 hours. The guards wouldn't let him out."
The sheriff's department is headed by Sheriff Sharon Wehrly.
"They should put her in a shower for 13 hours with her hands shackled and have to go to the bathroom like that and see if she thinks it's torture then," Susan DeLemus said.
Amercanfreedomunion.com reported that his hands were so tightly cuffed one of his wrists was dislocated.
Susan DeLemus said her husband had suffered no such harsh treatment, but that because of the protest and escalated tension the prison had been put on lockdown for several days with no phone calls allowed to prisoners.
She said phone service to her husband was now restored and that she talked to him on Wednesday.
"He sounded good," she said. "We're all sort of wondering what will happen, but relatively speaking, he's doing pretty good, though some days it's bad and he'll be really bummed out."
Meanwhile, DeLemus' upcoming sentencing looms ahead on May 31, during which federal court Judge Gloria Maria Navarro will have wide latitude in imposing her sentence.
"She could let him go for time served, give him the six years the prosecution has asked for or give him more," Susan DeLemus said.
DeLemus, a local Tea Party activist, also traveled to the wildlife sanctuary at the Malheur Reserve in Oregon trying to bring a peaceful resolution to that standoff.
Not long after he returned to Rochester, Lavoy Finicum, a spokesman for the group who seized the wildlife sanctuary, was killed on a remote Oregon highway as he and others tried to leave the occupation site. The shooting was condemned by occupiers and supporters.
Just as in the Oregon standoff, DeLemus, a Marine veteran, has long said he went to Nevada to defuse the situation, not escalate it.
However, the feds saw differently, charging him in a March 3, 2016, indictment as a midlevel leader and organizer of the Bundy standoff, who, among other things: recruited, organized, trained and provided logistical support to gunmen and other followers and organized and led armed patrols and security checkpoints from April 12 till the end of May 2014 on and about the disputed grazing lands and Bundy ranch in southeastern Nevada.
The original indictment charged him with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, threatening a federal law enforcement officer, assault on a federal officer, obstruction of justice, attempting to impede or injure a federal law enforcement officer, interference with interstate commerce by extortion, and several firearms charges, for which he could have been sentenced to life in federal prison.
He was arrested on March 3, 2016, as several FBI vehicles full of armed agents in full tactical gear with weapons drawn swarmed his Rochester condo.
The Bundy standoff was an armed confrontation between protesters and law enforcement that developed from a 20-year legal dispute between the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada cattle rancher Bundy over grazing rights on federal land in southeastern Nevada.
Among other things Susan DeLemus disputes regarding her husband's arrest and indictment is that the charges against him are misleading in that he wasn't at the standoff, arriving the day after by which time the standoff had de-escalated.
For now, however, she is just busy lining up helpers to aid in the care of her mother, who has Stage 5 Alzheimer's and requires 24/7 care for when she travels to be in Las Vegas federal court to testify on behalf of her husband on May 31.
She said supporters have been helping her a lot, one giving her their frequent flyer miles for her trip.
She said she hopes to see her husband, but isn't certain of anything.
"It's gonna be hard, May 29 is our anniversary," she added. "It will be 13 years."
Meanwhile, DeLemus' defense attorney filed a motion on Wednesday asking Navarro to reconsider her order denying the motion to withdraw DeLemus' guilty plea, a Las Vegas federal court spokesman said today.