Ranching standoff trial a test of federal government control

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The trial of a Nevada rancher, his two sons and another man accused of leading a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents in a dispute over land use begins this week.

Stakes are high for federal prosecutors, who fell short of getting full convictions of other men who had guns during the dispute over a government round-up of Cliven Bundy's cattle.

In opening statements Tuesday prosecutors will accuse the 71-year-old Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy, and co-defendant Ryan Payne of enlisting a self-styled militia to defy government authority.

Ian Bartrum, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas law professor following the case, says it's an important test for a federal government trying to enforce its own land policies in the Western United States.

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