Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Whose Case Sparked 2016 Militia Standoff

(From The Guardian)

Donald Trump on Tuesday issued full pardons to two Oregon ranchers whose imprisonment prompted a militia standoff with the federal government.

Dwight Hammond Jr. and his son Steven Hammond were convicted in 2012 on charges of arson, after federal prosecutors alleged they were responsible for multiple fires on public lands.

The government said the ranchers were covering up evidence of hunting violations and endangered people with the fires. The Hammond family and their supporters insisted they started a “prescribed fire” to burn off invasive species and another to protect their feed and home from a growing fire. The case became a symbol to some conservatives of government overreach in rural parts of the American west.

“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,” the White House said in a statement.

“Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these grants of executive clemency.”

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