Birdwatching at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2010. In 2016, militia members occupied the refuge. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

Trump Pardons Hammond Ranchers in Case That Inspired 2016 Oregon Militia Occupation

President Donald Trump is pardoning two cattle ranchers convicted of arson in a case that case sparked the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted in 2012 of intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands. The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms.

Prosecutors won an appeal and the Hammonds were re-sentenced to serve the mandatory minimum. In a statement released on Tuesday, the White House called the five year prison sentence “unjust.”

“The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.”

Read more at CBS News

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