Idaho hospital sues Ammon Bundy and associate for defamation

May 11, 2022, 4:43 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho hospital that went on lockdown in March after far-right activists protested outside is suing Ammon Bundy, Diego Rodriguez and their various political organizations for defamation and “sustained online attacks.”

St. Luke’s Health System filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Bundy, his gubernatorial campaign, and his People’s Rights Network organization. The hospital system is also suing Diego Rodriguez — the grandfather of the child involved in the protection case — as well as Rodriguez’s website Freedom Man Press and the Freedom Man political action committee. Rodriguez is an associate of Bundy’s who has been active in Bundy’s political campaign.

The child protection case involved a 10-month-old baby who was temporarily removed from family custody in March after officials determined the infant was “suffering from severe malnourishment” and at risk of injury or death, the Meridian Police Department said at the time. The baby’s parents had refused to let officers check on the child’s welfare after the family canceled a medical appointment, the police statement said.

Bundy, who is well-known for participating in armed standoffs with law enforcement, was arrested the following day on a misdemeanor trespassing charge after he protested at a different hospital where he believed the baby was being treated. He also asked his followers to protest at the hospital and the homes of child protection service workers, law enforcement officers and others involved in the child protection case. Rodriguez, meanwhile, wrote on his website that the baby was “kidnapped,” and suggested that the state and people involved in the case were engaged in “child trafficking” for profit.

The men also told followers to protest at the Boise hospital on March 15. The facility went on lockdown for more than an hour, diverting emergency patients to other area hospitals, after hospital officials determined the protests presented a safety risk.

In the lawsuit, St. Luke’s Health System contends that the two men “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,” the hospital system’s attorney wrote in the lawsuit. “Then, in turn, Defendants realized they could establish themselves as crusaders against their falsely manufactured governmental conspiracy.”

The defendants wanted to generate interest in Bundy’s political campaign for governor, raise their public profiles and create financial gain in the form of donations from followers, the hospital system contends.

Neither Bundy nor Rodriguez immediately responded to emails requesting comment.

St. Luke’s is asking for more than $50,000 in damages plus legal fees in an amount to be proven in trial. The hospital system also wants the defendants to be barred from making defamatory statements.

In a statement, St. Luke’s said it would donate any award of monetary damages to a program for at-risk children called Children At Risk Evaluation Service.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer speaks inside the Recorders Office, Nov. 9, 2022, in...
Associated Press

Dominion conspiracies highlighted by Fox lawsuit have election officials concerned for safety

Maricopa County officials are bracing for what could happen when it comes time to replace its contract for voting equipment.
2 days ago
A building is damaged and trees are down after severe storm swept through Little Rock, Ark., Friday...
Associated Press

Tornado causes widespread damage to buildings, vehicles in Little Rock

A tornado raced through Little Rock and surrounding areas Friday, splintering homes, overturning vehicles and tossing trees.
2 days ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a cam...
Associated Press

Worries grow that Trump indictment could undermine public confidence in other investigations

Trump’s attempts to overturn those results amid false claims of widespread fraud are at the heart of two other ongoing investigations.
2 days ago
(Facebook Photo/Superior Court of Arizona in Yavapai County)...
Associated Press

Arizona judge has cases reassigned following DUI arrest

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that all cases currently assigned to a Yavapai County Superior Court judge recently arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI will be reassigned to other judges.
6 days ago
Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
9 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Idaho hospital sues Ammon Bundy and associate for defamation