While the news of Blaine Cooper’s plea may have come as a surprise to many, it certainly did not shock his co-defendants in the case – because he had already told them he was contemplating the deal.
On Wednesday – July 6th – before the monthly planning session in Judge Anna Brown’s Courtroom, Blaine Cooper explained to Ammon Bundy and others – that he was struggling to make the right decision concerning a GLOBAL plea deal his attorney had hammered out with Oregon and Nevada Prosecutors. Cooper’s lawyer, Krista Shipsey asked that his co-defendants and others respect his choice, but co-defendants say – she really didn’t have say it.
Mr. Cooper told his co-defendants that part of his struggle was – He just wanted to get it over with, get on with his life, and get this all behind him; but he also didn’t want them to be disappointed with his decision. Unlike Brian Cavalier, the man who just plead guilty in the last couple of weeks, Cooper’s plea deal does not seem to be based on cooperation with the government, leaving many to speculate that being the reason his sentence is so high in Nevada.
In the end they all agreed that Mr. Cooper should do what was best for “him” and that – “whatever that was” – they would understand. Although some co-defendants were caught off guard by how quickly he made the final decision after their talk, they still said they had to respect his willingness to tell them before he did it.
One Co-defendant has been noted as saying;
“At least he had the balls to tell us to our face what he was thinking of doing – You have to give the guy credit for that. No matter what happens in the end we can at least say – Blaine Cooper didn’t make some back room deal to throw us all under the bus like some of these other guys did – at least he told us first.”
Tom Coan, attorney for Peter Santilli says; “If there is any good to be found in this plea deal, it does signal Nevada is willing to cut deals with some of these guys who have been convicted of felonies in the past, and that is good for attorney’s and their clients to know; especially if they are leaning toward possibly going that route.
In May, during the arraignment hearing of Cliven Bundy, the question was posed as to whether or not having so many defendants tried at the same time would prolong an already complicated case that some felt had already robbed defendants of their right to a speedy trial. Prosecutor Steven Mhyre answered; “Your Honor lets face it – a lot of these guys will not even be here when this trial begins,” eluding to the fact that many would be offered and then take, plea deals.
Other attorney’s working on cases for the men being held in Nevada over the Bundy Ranch Standoff, think it’s a terrible idea for Blaine Cooper to take a deal like this so quickly – considering motion hearings have not even begun yet. “Some of these charges will fall away like they did in Oregon, and the fact is – it’s just too early to make a deal that puts you in prison for six years when there are still so many unknowns,” said one of the defense attorneys.
Many long-time friends expressed their sadness that Blaine had given up hope so early on, but also understood that he was experiencing extreme pressure from all sides. It is no secret Blaine Cooper’s life was being dramatically played out on social media and that much of that spilled over into his life in jail, making an almost unbearable situation all that much harder to deal with.
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