WASHINGTON D.C. — President Trump is pardoning two Oregon ranchers who were the reason Ammon Bundy led the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Dwight and Steve Hammond were sentenced to five years in prison for setting a fire on their property. It’s reported that the Hammonds disavowed the actions of the refuge takeover.
They were initially sentenced to three months and a year in 2012, but the Obama Administration challenged that decision in 2016 and an appeals court increased it to five years, a catalyst in the Bundys’ takeover. Oregon Federal Judge Michael Hogan said the five year sentence was grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses.
Hammond had two years left on his sentence, and Steve Hammond had one year remaining. The Oregon Farm Bureau gathered 25,000 signatures in support of the pardon.
The Hammonds were imprisoned for a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Oregon Congressman Greg Walden advocated for the pardon, saying it was time for “real justice”.