Feds dismiss conspiracy case against Oregon standoff defendant Pete Santilli on eve of trial

On the eve of his trial, federal prosecutors in Oregon have dropped the conspiracy indictment against Peter Santilli, a self-described independent broadcaster who was present during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County.

Santilli, 51, was the lone person of eight defendants set for trial this month who never stayed overnight at the federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon, and his attorney argued that much of the material he broadcast on his YouTube channel was protected speech under the First Amendment.

In a motion filed late Tuesday afternoon, federal prosecutors urged the court to dismiss the indictment, citing U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown's ruling last week that limited the evidence they could present against Santelli.

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