New Hampshire activist wants to change plea on Nevada standoff -wife

November 1, 2016 1:18 PM EDT

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By Ted Siefer

(Reuters) - A prominent conservative activist from New Hampshire wants to withdraw his earlier guilty plea for his role in an armed standoff with federal agents in Nevada in 2014, his wife said on Tuesday.

The decision by Gerald DeLemus, 61, follows the surprise acquittal last week of Ammon Bundy, a leader in the Nevada standoff, and six of his followers stemming from their role in the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year.

The judge in DeLemus's case would have to weigh whether to accept any change of plea.

"He felt the jury saw the truth and recognized the truth," said DeLemus's wife, Susan, a Republican state representative in the New Hampshire legislature. "When dealing with a government you feel is unjust, seeing justice come from the people was, I think, encouraging."

Susan DeLemus said she speaks every day on the phone to her husband, who is in federal custody in Nevada.

DeLemus’s attorney, Brian Smith, did not immediately return a call for comment.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Nevada, Natalie Collins, declined to comment, noting that DeLemus had not yet filed a motion seeking to amend his plea.

Bundy and his supporters oppose the U.S. government's control over millions of acres of public lands in the West. DeLemus and other anti-government activists have rallied to their cause.

DeLemus, whom federal prosecutors described as a "gunman and mid-level organizer" in the Nevada standoff, was one of two defendants to accept a plea deal. He was slated to be sentenced next month.

As part of the deal, DeLemus accepted reduced charges of conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States and interstate travel in aid of extortion. His attorney had sought a six-year prison sentence.

Bundy and 16 co-defendants still face multiple charges stemming from their role in the Nevada standoff, which began when federal agents seized cattle at his father’s ranch over unpaid grazing fees. That trial is set to begin in February.

DeLemus, a former U.S. Marine who lives in Rochester, New Hampshire, was named a co-chair of a state veterans group backing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. He and his wife have been active in conservative causes in the state.

(Reporting by Ted Siefer in Lowell, Massachusetts; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown)



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