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Ammon Bundy Defense Media Policy – Policy Template
The following was Arnold Law’s media policy that was established for Ammon Bundy’s case. We opted to make our media policy public for the benefit of those interested in the case and to help other attorneys involved in high-profile cases who may be caught in the middle of media coverage for the first time.
Why do we speak publicly?
Because Mr. Bundy has Free Speech rights and sometimes needs our assistance to exercise those rights.
Because our speaking out and assisting Mr. Bundy to speak out may encourage witnesses to come forward who have information that may be helpful to the defense but who might otherwise be unwilling to do so in a predominantly negative media environment.
To counter the asymmetrical release of a great deal of negative and untruthful information about our client from a variety of sources.
Because this case raises important public policy and political issues that are already a part of widespread public discussion and that deserve more discussion.
Because our client wishes us to demand transparency and shed light on any actual or perceived abuses of power, whether by the government, the media or private individuals.
What will we say?
Even though we have broad Free Speech rights (First Amendment and Article 1, Sect. 8, Oregon Constitution), in addition to those of Mr. Bundy, we will generally limit ourselves to addressing issues that are already in the media or about which the media is asking questions, even though we are not required to limit ourselves.
In other words, we will only rarely initiate communications about matters that have not already been or are not about to become subjects of public or media discussion. We are not trying to create publicity about issues for which no publicity would otherwise exist.
We realize that we are lawyers representing a client and not media experts. We will always try to keep our client’s interest and our responsibilities as lawyers in mind and have and will always advise a client of the right to remain silent.
Mike Arnold and Lissa Casey are the only individuals at the firm who are authorized to communicate with the press. All requests for comments should initially be made to Mr. Arnold, typically through the firm’s designated media coordinator Shawn Vincent of Vincent Mediaworks.
Depending upon the circumstances, Mr. Arnold and Ms. Casey may at times be able to arrange for live statements by, or written or recorded statements from, Mr. Bundy.
Social Media and Crowdsourcing
In addition to traditional written press releases and interviews, we believe that the purposes sought to be served by our communications can also be met through the use of social media.
In addition to providing a medium for presenting appropriate information about the case, social media also provides a platform for communications with the firm. The Ammon Bundy defense is, in part, a crowd-sourced legal matter. Given the large number of potential witnesses and the broad public interest in the case, social media provides the most practical way for a firm and client with limited resources (going against the federal government, an entity that literally prints the money) to identify, aggregate, and authenticate information that may prove invaluable to the defense.