Cliven Bundy cohort sentenced to 7 years in federal prison

A New Hampshire Tea Party founder, faces serious jail time for the 2014 armed Cliven Bundy ranch standoff

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 1, 2017 11:19AM (EDT)

Jerry DeLemus   (AP/Ken Ritter)
Jerry DeLemus (AP/Ken Ritter)

A New Hampshire Tea Party alumnus who assisted Cliven Bundy in his 2014 armed standoff against the Bureau of Land Management will spend seven years in prison for his crime.

Jerry DeLemus joined Cliven Bundy to oppose the federal government's attempt to remove Bundy's cattle from grazing on federally owned land in 2014, according to a report by the Boston Globe. He is the first person to be sentenced in this case, with the others either awaiting sentencing or having received mistrials.

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The Bundy grazing case can be traced all the way back to 1993, when the family decided that it wouldn't pay grazing fees to the government when sending its cattle to feed off of federally owned land. The Bundys eventually owed $1 million and were denied grazing rights on federally owned land, prompting an armed standoff that soon became a cause celebre for right-wingers who opposed the concept of federal ownership of Western land as a matter of principle.

One notable detail of DeLemus' case is that his sentence was one year longer than the duration suggested by prosecutors. Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro cited DeLemus' attempt to withdraw his guilty plea after seven other people were acquitted of similar charges in Oregon as the reason for the lengthier sentence.

In addition to his past work with the Tea Party, DeLemus was also a delegate for Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Because he was detained at a federal prison in Nevada at the time, however, he was unable to attend the convention.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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