Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his two sons and a militia member will not face a retrial on charges that they led an armed rebellion against federal agents in 2014.
A federal judge on Monday said the federal prosecutors' conduct was "outrageous" and "violated due process rights" of the defendants.
U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed the charges against the four men "with prejudice," meaning they cannot face trial again. She said a new trial would not be sufficient to address the problems in the case and would provide the prosecution with an unfair advantage going forward.
The judge criticized both the prosecution and the FBI for not providing evidence to the defense as required under court rules. "The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated," Navarro said.
Navarro said it was clear the FBI was involved in the prosecution of the case, and that it was not a coincidence that most of the withheld evidence came from the FBI.
She said the prosecution's reliance on the FBI and failure to look beyond the documents the FBI provided represented an "intentional abdication of its responsibility." Essentially, she said the prosecution decided not to follow up because the evidence would have worked in the Bundys' favor.