LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawyer says a militia leader standing trial in Las Vegas drove to Nevada to help a rancher in a grazing dispute with the federal government because he believed people were in danger and he had to help.

Defense attorney Ryan Norwood told a jury on Wednesday that Ryan Payne never pointed a gun at anyone and remained with states’ rights figure Cliven Bundy — miles away from where protesters confronted U.S. Bureau of Land Management agents in an armed standoff.

Norwood says Payne worked to keep people safe, and keeping people safe is not a crime.

The lawyer describes Payne as a U.S. Army veteran who served two deployments in Iraq, and says he left his family at home in Anaconda, Montana, to go to the Bundy ranch in April 2014 after seeing reports of federal agents using dogs and stun guns against Bundy family members.


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