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Far-right activist Ammon Bundy threatens another armed standoff in response to defamation lawsuit

Far-right anti-government militant Ammon Bundy has threatened to use weapons to resist enforcement of a lawsuit filed against him by an Idaho hospital.

Mr Bundy, who gained notoriety for two armed standoffs in Nevada and Oregon in 2014 and 2016 respectively, told the conservative Idaho Dispatch that he would meet authorities with weapons if they attempted to seize property in relation to the lawsuit, which seeks damages for defamation.

“They’re probably going to try to get judgments of over a million dollars and take everything they have from me, and I’m not going to let that happen,” he said on a livestream interview this week.

“I’m making moves to stop that from happening. And if I have to meet ‘em on the front door with my, you know, friends and a shotgun, I’ll do that. They’re not going to take my property.”

The dispute is linked to an ongoing legal battle between a right-wing activist network founded by Mr Bundy, who recently ran a failed campaign for Idaho governor, and St. Luke’s Health System.

The hospital accused Mr Bundy and his organisation of engaging in “sustained online attacks” and defamation following an incident involving the grandchild of one of his associates. The 10-month-old infant was temporarily removed from family custody in March of this year after officials determined the infant was “suffering from severe malnourishment,” the Meridian Police Department said at the time. The family rejected the accusation that the baby had lost substantial weight, the Associated Press reported.

Mr Bundy and his associate and grandfather of the child, Diego Rodriguez, organised protests, one of which led to a lockdown at a Boise hospital.

The baby was returned home, but the hospital system subsequently filed a lawsuit against Mr Bundy, Mr Rodriquez and the far-right People’s Rights Network.

St Luke’s Health System said in its filing that Mr Rodriguez and Mr Bundy “worked together to manufacture a false narrative of a state-sponsored child kidnapping and trafficking ring” that included the hospital, the Department of Health and Welfare, law enforcement officials and others.

“They realized the facts surrounding DHW’s intervention could be mischaracterized as a governmental conspiracy to kidnap, traffic and kill children," it continued. "Then, in turn, Defendants realized they could establish themselves as crusaders against their falsely manufactured governmental conspiracy.”

Mr Bundy gained nationwide attention during his 2014 standoff with the federal government at his Nevada ranch over federal land regulations.

The dispute was ignited by the Bundy family’s refusal to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management after disputing its right to do so. When authorities attempted to seize their cattle, they were met with hundreds of Bundy supporters, many of whom were armed.

The standoff eventually ended with the arrest of several of the Bundy family and their supporters, who were later charged with conspiracy for that standoff and a similar incident in Oregon.

All the charges were eventually dismissed after a judge ruled that prosecutors withheld evidence and engaged in misconduct, resulting in a mistrial.