President Trump pardons Oregon ranchers whose case sparked armed occupation

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House Tuesday

US President Donald Trump has pardoned a rancher from OR state and his son whose convictions led to a weeks-long armed standoff at a wildlife refuge in 2016.

Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted in 2012 of intentionally setting fires on public lands under a domestic terrorism law, after having served several months in jail for the same offense.

"The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in OR imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land".

"At the Hammonds" original sentencing, the judge noted that they are respected in the community and that imposing the mandatory minimum, 5-year prison sentence would "shock the conscience" and be "grossly disproportionate to the severity' of their conduct".

The Hammonds said they started a fire on their property in 2001 to protect it from wildfires and reduce the growth of invasive plants, but that the fire got out of hand, CNN affiliate KTBZ-TV reported.

The second imprisonment caused a local backlash.

The standoff in support of the Hammonds was led by Ammon Bundy, the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

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In his statement regarding the clemency, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the evidence presented at their trial was "conflicting" and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges. Steven Hammond, 49, has served roughly four.

Many have also seen the president as sending a signal with his pardons to former aides and associates caught up in the probe, or lashing out at enemies like former FBI Director James Comey, who oversaw the prosecution of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, whom Trump has said he is thinking of pardoning.

This is a very distinct and selective version of the "law and order" he campaigned on, but one that holds enormous appeal to the only people President Trump really cares about: his base. Her office appealed the lighter sentences because she said the trial judge didn't have discretion to depart from a mandatory minimum sentence.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in OR said Astarita falsely stated he had not fired his weapon during the attempted arrest of protester LaVoy Finicum, who was shot dead by another officer during the incident, "when he knew he had in fact fired his weapon".

Trump came to a similar conclusion, with the White House noting that both men have now served years in prison and paid $400,000 to settle a related civil suit.

The Oregon Farm Bureau also released a statement on the pardons, thanking everyone who "worked to end the injustice done to Steven and Dwight Hammond".

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