An Ada County judge has issued an arrest warrant for far-right activist and former gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy after he failed to show up for a mandatory hearing Monday.
The hearing related to contempt charges against Bundy in the St. Luke’s defamation case, which concluded in July with a jury ordering Bundy and an associate, Diego Rodriguez, to pay $52.5 million in damages to the health system and other plaintiffs. The case began after Bundy and Rodriguez led protests at St. Luke’s hospitals in Meridian and downtown Boise in March 2022 over a child welfare case involving Rodriguez’s 10-month-old grandchild.
The defendants were found to have posted numerous lies online about the hospital system, its health professionals and the reason the baby was taken into custody.
The plaintiffs since alleged that Bundy, Rodriguez and their followers have continued to attack and harass witnesses who testified in the July trial. The plaintiffs asked that Bundy be held in contempt for violating a court order to stop harassing those involved in the case, according to court documents.
Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin had set Monday as the day of both an arraignment on additional contempt charges and the first day of trial for previous contempt charges.
Bundy failed to appear, and Baskin said she would issue a warrant for his arrest, with bail set at $250,000, St. Luke’s attorney Erik Stidham told the Idaho Statesman.
Baskin also said Bundy forfeited his $10,000 bond from August. Bundy previously bonded out of the Gem County Jail for that amount after law enforcement arrested him in August at a high school football fundraiser for violating the judge’s orders.
Unlike the previous civil case, Bundy’s presence is required during these court proceedings because the contempt charges could lead to criminal penalties, according to Idaho law.
On Sunday morning, Bundy sent the Ada County Courthouse an email, which Stidham forwarded to the Statesman, saying he would not be in court on “Monday or any other day.”
“I have much more important matters to attend to, such as providing for my family’s needs,” Bundy wrote. “My entire life has been consumed by political prosecutions and I must now do what is necessary to sustain my family.”
Baskin issued a warrant following Monday’s hearing, according to court records.
Stidham told the Statesman he appreciates the court’s efforts to hold Bundy accountable.
“Today, he had an opportunity to present evidence, testify under oath, cross-examine witnesses, and defend himself against those charges,” Stidham said in an emailed statement to the Statesman. “Instead, Mr. Bundy ran from that opportunity, just as he has fled from every such opportunity before in the litigation.”
Bundy’s wife, Lisa Bundy, made statements on social media suggesting her family was moving, and those following her wished her goodbye.
Bundy told the Statesman that he’s “not sure” how he plans to respond to the warrant, but he “would not change a thing” about his previous actions. When asked whether his family was moving, Bundy said he was “sure the Idaho establishment and liberal(s) would like that.”