Key figure in refuge case seeks to withdraw guilty plea

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon standoff figure Ryan Payne wants to withdraw his guilty plea.

The Montana man admitted in July he conspired with others to prevent Interior Department employees from doing their jobs during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildfire Refuge.

The U.S. attorney's office in Oregon recommended that Payne's expected prison sentence run at the same time as the punishment he was to receive for a 2014 standoff with federal agents at Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch.

At the time, it appeared a Nevada plea deal was imminent. But Payne's lawyer, Rich Federico, said in court papers Wednesday that talks broke down.

Federico said Payne would not have signed the Oregon agreement if he had known all the terms of the deal in Nevada. Moreover, Payne's statements when pleading guilty also showed he had strong misgivings about the factual basis for his plea.

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