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Trump pardons OR cattle ranchers in land dispute

In this composite with handout images provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office suspects Ammon Bundy Ryan Bundy Ryan Waylen Payne Brian Cavalier  Peter Santilli Joseph Donald OShaughnessy, and Shawna Cox pose for a

The two fires for which the Hammonds were convicted took place five years apart.

"Finally, an elected official did something", Bundy said.

The Hammonds, meanwhile, were convicted of a "very serious crime" that shouldn't be brushed aside, he said. "We are glad that President Trump had the courage to go thru and pardon the Hammond's". These fires were "backburns" that the family was using to protect their land from a wildfire started by lightning near their Burns, Oregon ranch.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned two convicted arsonist ranchers whose imprisonment sparked an armed standoff with authorities.

The Hammonds said they set the fires to protect their land from invasive species; prosecutors later said it was to hide eveidence of illegal deer hunting.

One said Steven Hammond handed out matches with instructions to "light up the whole country", and another testified that Hammond barely escaped the roaring flames.

A Hammond family statement said the pardons should "help signal the need for a more measured and just approach by federal agents, federal officers, and federal prosecutors - in all that they do", reported the Oregonian.

"I think the president recognized they're good and decent men and got a raw deal on the sentencing", said Nathan Jackson, a rancher and president of OCA.

As of 2018, Dwight had served approximately three years in prison and Steven had served four, according to the White House. But the full sentences were imposed in October of 2015, months after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Hammonds' petitions for review.

That re-sentencing sparked outrage from the Hammonds' supporters who then occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in OR for almost six weeks in protest. Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a key protester according to The Chicago Tribune, was fatally shot on January 26 by Oregon State Police. Rallying his followers in a YouTube video, Bundy planned a protest march through the small town of Burns, Oregon, the Hammonds' home town, as the two men prepared to return to prison. The federal sentencing of Dwight and Steven Hammond for arson sparked the anti-government occupation.

In 2016, prosecutors won an appeal and the Hammonds were re-sentenced to the minimum five years. He declined further comment Wednesday.

In its pardon, the White House said there were uncertainties in the Hammonds' case. They changed the refuge's name to the Harney County Resource Center, reflecting their belief that the federal government has only a limited right to own property within a state. He continues to call for the release of ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond who are serving time in prison for arson.

Lucas, whose company also reportedly owns the naming rights to the National Football League team's Lucas Oil Stadium, has lobbied extensively against animal-rights activists.

The challenge resulted in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sentencing them back to prison to complete five-year sentences, until Trump used his pardon power.

"President Trump's pardon of OR ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond tells us there is still hope for justice in environmental law enforcement".

The Hammonds were released from jail Tuesday afternoon.

"Today is a win for justice, and an acknowledgment of our unique way of life in the high desert, rural West", Walden said. Public-lands advocates have criticized Trump's pardon as a tacit approval of the occupation.