Alleged Oregon protester arrested in Utah, Manti man also arrested

Wesley Kjar

(KUTV) The standoff in Oregon is officially over with nine people facing federal charges in connection with the action at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (See the map at the end of the story.)

Hearings for the seven who have been taken into custody are just beginning. One of those seven people, Blaine Cooper was found by the FBI on Thursday in a Springdale motel.

A Utah man, Wesley Kjar, from Manti, has also been charged in connection with the standoff. He will face a judge for the first time Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Mayor of Springdale, Stan Smith, told 2News that the motel, Canyon Ranch Motel, is just right outside of Zion National Park and both Springdale police and Washington County sheriff's deputies were there as back up in case something happened

At approximately 10 am Friday, Cooper had his first hearing at the Fifth Judicial District Court, which was mainly to determine if the man wanted in Oregon was indeed Blaine cooper.

In that hearing, Cooper confirmed his identity and also listened in while the judge and present attorneys discussed the indictment that had been filed by the state of Oregon.

That indictment documents state that Blaine Cooper among others: "Did knowingly and willfully conspire and agree together and with each other and with persons known and unknown to the grand jury to prevent by force, intimidation, and threats, officers and employees of the United states fish and wildlife service, an agency within the department of the interior, from discharging the duties of their office and the Malheur national Wildlife Refuge."

Coopers defense attorney, Aric Cramer, out of St. George, Utah said "All clients are presumed innocent until proven guilty. So whatever he's been charged with, he's innocent of those charges until the jury finds him guilty."

Following this court hearing, Cramer told 2News that Cooper will be transferred back to Oregon where he will undergo the remainder of his trial.

"It may be a difficulty getting a trial in America because of the high profile nature of the case but those attorneys in the federal defenders office in Oregon are top shelf, top notch attorneys and if they need to move it, they'll move it." Cramer said.

When Cooper gets to Oregon, he will be appointed another public defender either CGA attorney or by the Federal Defenders Office. Cramer said after that the next step would be to go in front of a magistrate.

"And ask to be released on federal pre-trial services, prior to the court hearing in Earnest." Cramer said.

Follow DJ Bolerjack on Twitter @DJBolerjack for breaking news, updates and more.



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