Two months of testimony in the first Bunkerville standoff trial concluded Monday with a defendant’s dramatic assertion that authorities sat in foxholes waiting to shoot protesters who arrived at the site where federal agents for days had been rounding up Cliven Bundy’s cattle.
The accusation was among the last statements Idaho resident Eric Parker made to the jury before he stepped down from the witness stand late morning, after a day and a half spent testifying in his own defense. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday in the case against Parker and five other men charged as “gunmen” in the 2014 armed standoff.
Parker, a 33-year-old father of two, is the only defendant who decided to put himself in the line of courtroom crossfire by testifying on his own behalf. He controlled the narrative for hours on Friday while his defense lawyer questioned him. But on Monday, a federal prosecutor pressed him about his decisions the day of the standoff, as well as his social media postings in the lead-up to and aftermath of his trip to Bunkerville.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Dickinson’s line of questioning reflected an attempt to suggest to jurors that Parker was not truthful in testifying that he never planned to use violence and only raised his gun to defend women and children against a threatening law enforcement presence.