Accused U.S. Capitol Rioter Charged With Spraying and Prodding Police, Then Taunting Them About the Second Amendment

Reportedly in the crosshairs of a federal criminal investigation, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) shocked many by tweeting out hours before his.

party blocked an inquiry into the U.S. Capitol siege: “The Second Amendment is about the ability to maintain, within the citizenry, an armed rebellion against the government if that becomes necessary.”

A just-arrested U.S. Capitol rioter allegedly echoed similar sentiments to the police officers he allegedly assaulted on Jan. 6th.

“There is a second amendment behind us,” 34-year-old Sean Michael McHugh allegedly taunted officers, according to his criminal complaint. “What are you going to do then?”

Arrested on Friday, McHugh faces eight charges, including assaulting law enforcement with a deadly weapon.

Like several others at the assault on the Capitol, McHugh stands accused of spraying police with chemicals. Prosecutors say McHugh helped fellow rioters push a large metal sign into the officers and yelled: “Put it up there! Put it up there!”

McHugh’s Second Amendment taunt was captured on police body-worn camera footage, prosecutors say, extensively quoting from footage of the California man screaming through a megaphone at around 1:30 p.m. that day.

“You guys like protecting pedophiles?” McHugh allegedly asked at one point, in what appears to be a reference to the QAnon conspiracy theory imagining a vast plot of Democratic politicians aligned with elite child-eating sexual abusers worldwide.

“You’re protecting communists!” McHugh is also quoted exclaiming, in addition to the profane line: “I’d be shaking in your little shit boots too.”

Prosecutors claim: “Several videos feature McHugh encouraging the crowd with his megaphone to intimidate officers and approach the police line.”

The FBI’s affidavit contains multiple still images showing a yellow spray that McHugh allegedly deployed using a canister attached to his hip via a holster.

McHugh was arrested and had his first court appearance in the Eastern District of California on Friday. That same day, Senate Republicans killed a commission to investigate what many lawmakers have called the “domestic terrorist attack” on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th.

“An insurrection without consequences — without even a proper investigation — is a dress rehearsal for another insurrection,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wrote in a statement about the vote, slamming all but six GOP senators for voting against even considering the commission.

“My Republican colleagues still fear the truth and the wrath of Donald Trump,” Durbin wrote.

Shortly before that vote, federal prosecutors in a case against various members of the Oath Keepers revealed more about an alleged plot to storm Washington, D.C. with guns by boat by way of the Potomac River. The militia group’s leader allegedly planned to avail himself of his Second Amendment rights, and then some, by having a group of people on “standby” to ferry firearms to fellow extremists should a “worst case scenario” transpire. The same leader, who has not yet been charged, wrote a message conceiving of a scenario in which former President Trump “calls us up as part of the militia to to assist him inside DC.”

At least five people died during and after the assault on the Capitol, and at least 139 law enforcement officers were injured, prosecutors say.

Read the criminal complaint against McHugh below:

(Photo via DOJ)

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May 28, 2021 at 06:20PM

Lawyer Who Bragged About Storming Capitol Asks Judge If He Can Get a Drink with His Steak Tonight

Georgia attorney William McCall Calhoun Jr. previously expressed no uncertain amount of pride for taking part in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex. As a judge considered his release on Tuesday, however, Calhoun essayed a different note altogether.

“If I had to do it over again, I would not have gone into the Capitol,” he told U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich. “I know that I messed up doing that. I apologize for being difficult.”

The judge ultimately okayed Calhoun’s bail request but not before the defendant made a remark that very well could have tanked his second bid for pre-trial release.

“I know my friends are probably going to want to take me out tonight to buy me a steak and a glass of wine,” the admitted participant in the siege of Capitol Hill said near the end of the hearing. Luckily for him, the court was largely receptive and accommodating.

“Not doing his defense lawyer any favors,” Reuters legal reporter and onetime attorney Jan Wolfe mused via Twitter.

In the end, the libationary ask didn’t really matter.

Over the objection of federal prosecutors, Calhoun was granted bail with relatively lax conditions. After the government pushed for internet monitoring provisions, the defense pleaded that such a regime would not be conducive to attorney-client privilege. The judge gave in. That request transformed into a proposal that Calhoun steer clear of all social media—that he even refrain from reading the news.

According to Inner City Press, Calhoun protested that sites like YouTube aren’t strictly social media because they contain how-to videos. After a bit more deliberation, the court, the government and the defense settled on a more narrowly-tailored solution: a full-on posting ban. Calhoun will not have his internet use monitored and is not barred from visiting certain websites, he simply cannot send his thoughts out into the semi-public ether of online forums or blogs.

The posting prohibition is salient in Calhoun’s case.

Judge Friedrich noted that the defendant’s posts, previously marshaled and cited in service of denying his first bail request by the government, were “deeply disturbing.”

In one post from his late January initial appearance, Calhoun wrote of his desire to place Black Lives Matter protesters in “body bags.” He said he wanted racial justice advocates “stacked up high.”

“Standing by and when Trump makes the call, many heavily-armed patriots [will deal with] the Chicom Democrats,” another post said. “Oh yeah, the military and police are on our side.”

Calhoun also repeatedly expressed his desire for “violent retribution against the media and the Democrats,” and told one Black Lives Matter supporter on Twitter that they “won’t be laughing when patriots go door to door executing you commies.”

In another post, apparently telegraphing his desire to honor Tiffany Trump, Calhoun promised “headshots” for certain members of the media who were seen to be poking fun at her.

“God is on Trump’s side,” the veteran lawyer wrote in yet another post. “God is not on the Democrats’ side. And if patriots have to kill 60 million of these communists, it is God’s will.”

“Think ethnic cleansing but it’s anti-communist cleansing,” he added.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles H. Weigle agreed with the government the first time around. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Friedrich agreed with the defense’s earlier contention that “[w]ords do not equal action.”

Noting Calhoun’s lack of charges for having actually engaged in violence and his familiarity with court orders due to his years as an attorney, the court signed off on his release with GPS monitoring.

The once-proud but now demure defendant also predicted an end to his law practice, saying that no one would want to hire someone facing the charges he’s indicted for. Calhoun, effusively apologetic and offering the contrition of an artist, added that he was also a musician and would focus his attention on making money that way.

The court seemed to like the song it heard.

[image via screengrab/11Alive/Twitter]

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March 9, 2021 at 05:01PM

Accused Capitol Rioter Who Wanted to ‘Participate in Anarchy’ Dared the Feds to Investigate ‘Deez Nuts.’ They Did.

As a mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, one alleged rioter dared authorities on Facebook to investigate “deez nuts.” Nearly two months and multiple government informants later, federal prosecutors followed through on that with criminal charges against the man they say was behind that post.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Washington, D.C. federal court, closed circuit camera footage and several videos posted to Facebook show James Matthew Horning inside the Capitol Building during of the riot. Like many others arrested for their role in the melee, Horning showed no remorse, appearing to revel in his actions and providing authorities with self-incriminating evidence on social media.

In a Facebook post commenting on the events of Jan. 6, an account authorities believe belongs to Horning said he was “proud” to have taken part in the riots before defiantly calling for an investigation.

“To anyone on my list who has a problem with what happened in DC today…I am damn proud I was there. If you have a problem with that, hit the inbox if you want.. or use the unfriend feature if you ain’t bout it. Those of you calling for an investigation, why don’t you try investigating deez nuts with ya chin,” he wrote.

Horning’s account also posted five videos titled “Videos from DC” which depicting him and others at the Capitol that day, and appeared to have no problems publicly discussing his specific motivations for attending.

“I’m curious why you went to DC: just a show or actual intent to violently overthrow the election? Legit question,” a Facebook user asked Horning.

“3 reasons… to be there when history happens,” Horning replied. “To participate in anarchy. To smoke weed in government buildings…..The real reason was to intimidate congress…they have a 9% approval rating. We accomplished that. Maybe they will work on that because they know we could have got them and have mercy.”

One of the other videos posted to Horning’s account showed him smoking what the affidavit described as “an unknown substance.” In the footage, Horning says “Fuck it, smoking a joint on the Capitol steps right now.”

Responding to a meme someone posted on Facebook asserting that rioters would have been treated differently if they were Black, Horning said: “There were black people in the crowd. I was there. I let one of them hit the joint that I rolled and fired up in the chambers.”

Horning is facing charges of knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building without legal authority, knowingly intending to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government, and knowingly engaging in conduct with the intent to disrupt a session of Congress.

Read the full criminal complaint below.

James Mathew Horning Charge by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via criminal complaint]

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March 1, 2021 at 03:43PM

Man Who Posted Video of ‘Us Storming’ the Capitol Now Claims He Wasn’t There Due to ‘Extremely Painful’ Disabilities

An attorney for a man charged in the Jan. 6th D.C. siege says his client is a Navy vet who has held Top Secret security clearance for decades and has worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Also, the defendant, Thomas E. Caldwell, 65, is not a member of the Oath Keepers, according to a defense motion for bond obtained by Law&Crime.

Caldwell, along with Jessica Watkins, 38, and Donovan Crowl, 50, are each described by federal prosecutors as members of the far-right paramilitary group the Oath Keepers.  All three have been indicted in a conspiracy case over the events of Jan. 6th, when Trump supporters raided the Capitol Building. Other people charged over the siege have often described their participation as a spur of the moment decision, usually motivated by then-President Donald Trump‘s call for his followers to go to the Capitol that day. According to the allegations, however, the trio in question planned this ahead of time and knew what they were getting into.

From the affidavit:

Also on January 1, 2021, CALDWELL sent a Facebook message to CROWL recommending a room at the Comfort Inn Ballston for January 5-7, 2021. CALDWELL wrote: “This is a good location and would allow us to hunt at night if we wanted to. I don’t know if Stewie [an apparent reference to Oath Keepers leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes] has even gotten out his call to arms but its a little friggin late. This is one we are doing on our own. We will link up with the north carolina crew.” The investigation revealed that an individual who presented herself as “Jessica Wagkins”, whom I believe to be WATKINS, rented a room at the Comfort Inn Ballston from January 5-7, 2021.

In a motion for bond, Caldwell’s defense describes him as living with disability linked to his service. He experienced health problems including shoulder problems, knee issues, and degenerative lumbar disc disease with bilateral sciatic involvement, as well as a failed spinal fusion that resulted in him being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Physical activities (including lifting, carrying, and even sitting for extended periods of time) are “extremely painful” for the defendant, his motion states.

In their case against Caldwell, authorities cited a video he sent which appeared to be taken from within the Capitol.

“Us storming the castle,” Caldwell allegedly wrote two minutes later. “Please share. Sharon was right with me! I am such an instigator! She was ready for it man! Didn’t even mind the tear gas.”

From the affidavit:

On January 6, 2021, while at the Capitol, CALDWELL received the following Facebook message: “All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in . Turn on gas”. When CALDWELL posted a Facebook message that read, “Inside,” he received the following messages, among others: “Tom take that bitch over”; “Tom all legislators are down in the Tunnels 3floors down”; “Do like we had to do when I was in the core start tearing oit florrs go from top to bottom”; and “Go through back house chamber doors facing N left down hallway down steps.”

“We need to do this at the local level,” Caldwell allegedly wrote Crowl in a Facebook message on the evening of January 6. “Lets storm the capitol in Ohio. Tell me when!”

According to the defense, Caldwell denied ever being in the Capitol Building, and he said he was with people who can testify he never stepped inside. His physical challenges would his stopped him from forcibly entering any building or storming past any barrier.

The defense says the government presented no pictures or video showing Caldwell in the Capitol, on the grounds after storming a barrier, around any damaged property, or in either chamber of Congress.

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[images via federal court papers]

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February 9, 2021 at 12:03PM

Trump-Supporting Florist Who Admittedly Stormed Pelosi’s Office Asked Court for Permission to Go to Mexico. Now She’s Been Indicted.

Attorneys for Texas woman Jenny Louise Cudd said she previously planned a work-related trip to Mexico set for later in February. There was just one thing standing in her way: she is one of dozens of Trump supporters who bought the former president’s lies about a stolen election and ended up getting charged by way of a criminal complaint for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6. On Thursday, Cudd’s legal troubles transformed into a much more serious five-count federal indictment.

“A pending felony charge make that Mexico trip less likely,” HuffPost legal reporter Ryan J. Reilly noted via Twitter.

But it’s not impossible.

“I have had such a scenario and gotten approval,” New York City-based defense attorney, former prosecutor, and current Law&Crime Network legal analyst Julie Rendelman noted. “But such travel would be an exception to the norm.”

Cudd and her alleged accomplice Eliel Rosa were each slapped with four relatively small-bore charges that equate to misdemeanors. The duo were also accused, however, of corruptly obstructing, influencing and impeding an official proceeding–which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

Social media was scandalized earlier this week by the prospect that Cudd might get that trip to Mexico—an online and Twitter-fueled kerfuffle initiated by an incorrect viral stories from the Daily Beast and USA Today. Those stories have since been corrected.

Before the grand jury returned their verdict, Cudd’s lawyers asked the court to allow her to go to Mexico. The Tuesday outcry that occurred prompted some defense attorneys to throw cold water on the collective “freaking out.”

Erroneous reporting not withstanding, the outcry continued. But the docket only showed a proposed order to permit travel, not an actual signed order granting such permission.

When Cudd made her request to travel, her defense said that she only faced misdemeanor offenses, is on pretrial release, has no criminal history, runs a small business, is an established member of her community, has showed up to court, and communicates with her lawyer and pretrial probation.

“Prior to the alleged offense at issue, Ms. Cudd planned and prepaid for a weekend retreat with her employees for the dates of February 18 through February 21, 2021, in Riviera Maya, Mexico,” court documents said. “This is a work-related bonding retreat for employees and their spouses.”

Notably, Cudd has had one of her pending motions determined moot since the indictment was handed down. That motion had to do with Speedy Trial Act considerations. A judge has not addressed the motion to travel as of this writing. Cudd is currently free on a personal recognizance bond tending to her flowers in the Lone Star State.

Supporters of then-President Donald Trump raided the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 after he falsely told them he actually won a second term by a “landslide.”

The insurrectionists postponed but did not prevent Congress from counting Electoral College votes that went to since-inaugurated President Joe Biden. Five people died amid the chaos: four Trump supporters, and one Capitol police officer. Another Capitol officer, a D.C. Metro police officer, and an insurrectionist defendant died by suicide mere days after the day of infamy.

FBI agents have overwhelmingly cited the rioters’ social media activity, photographs from the media, and accounts from people who knew them when tying rioters to the Capitol siege. There’s no dispute that Cudd was inside the Capitol. She recorded herself at the scene of the crime, then admitted her involvement on the record with a media outlet.

“I personally didn’t break anything,” she told The Odessa American in a Jan. 7 report. “I didn’t break down any doors. I didn’t do anything violent. No one that I saw had any weapons of any sort.”

[Screengrab via Twitter]

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February 4, 2021 at 04:08PM

How It Started, How It’s Going: ‘QAnon Shaman’ Stares into the Camera in First Public Photo Behind Bars

Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, is seen at the U.S. Capitol in a Jan. 6, 2021 Getty Images photo. He is also seen in a Feb. 4, 2021 mugshot released by the Alexandria, Va. Detention Center.

We’re getting a fresh look at Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” behind jailhouse walls.

Officials in Alexandria, Virginia, released Chansley’s mugshot on Thursday evening.

Chansley, who has been referred to by his own attorney as “the guy with the horns and the fur, the meditation and organic food,” bears little immediate resemblance to his infamously recognizable self.  The mugshot shows a balding Chansley wearing a simple green collared shirt and, obviously, without the headdress, makeup, or tattoos.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: A protester screams "Freedom" inside the Senate chamber after the U.S. Capitol was breached by a mob during a joint session of Congress on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. Pro-Trump protesters entered the U.S. Capitol building during demonstrations in the nation's capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Jacob Anthony Chansley, the so-called ‘QAnon Shaman.’ Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

As Law&Crime previously reported, Chansley was transferred Thursday afternoon to the Alexandria Detention Center because that facility said it could accommodate his requests for an organic diet. A federal judge on Wednesday ordered that Chansley must be fed organic meals pursuant to Chansley’s religious beliefs in Shamanism. The Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections said it was “unable to comply” with that order, and Chansley was promptly moved to nearby Virginia.

Chansley and his attorney said he hadn’t eaten in as many as seven days because the D.C. facility didn’t provide the requested accommodations.

Mugshots of federal inmates are frequently hard to obtain. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals held in 2016 that arrestees can assert privacy interests in booking photos and, thus, that authorities need not necessarily release images of inmates to the press. The majority of judges in that case ruled that mugshots “convey guilt” and “haunt the depicted individual for decades.”

However, as is now the case with Chansley, federal inmates are sometimes housed by by state or local law enforcement agencies. When that occurs, a federal inmate’s mugshot may be released pursuant to underlying state law. Florida authorities released a mugshot of accused Capitol rioter Adam Johnson pursuant to the Sunshine State’s liberal open records laws. Mugshots in other states, such as New York, are currently difficult to obtain due to a recent change in underlying state law which severely restricts access to the otherwise frequently shared images.

Many of the images of U.S. Capitol arrestees which appear to be mugshots are actually driver’s license photos that federal authorities have embedded within agents’ affidavits. Numerous federal court records indicate that the FBI has located many people at the Capitol by comparing driver’s license photos to images taken at the U.S. Capitol Complex on Jan. 6.

Chansley’s identity was made known to federal authorities by media reports, not by a search of driver’s license photos.

The Alexandria Detention Center, where Chansley is currently held, similarly released a mugshot of Paul Manfort several years ago. Manafort’s attorneys balked when he was moved to the D.C.-area facility. However, Judge T. S. Ellis, who oversaw Manafort’s move to Alexandria, told Manafort’s attorneys that “the professionals at Alexandria Detention Center are very familiar with housing high-profile defendants, including foreign and domestic terrorists, spies and traitors.”

The snarky rebuke came after the judge said the former Donald Trump campaign chairman should be held pending trial at a location closer to his legal team.

Mugshot released by the Alexandria, Va. Detention Center.

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February 4, 2021 at 07:29PM

‘QAnon Shaman’ Files ‘Emergency Motion’ for Organic ‘Sustenance,’ Including Wild Caught Tuna, Vegetables, and Soup

Jacob Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman” arrested for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, has filed an emergency motion before a federal judge in Washington, D.C., “for sustenance.” In the alternative, Chansley is asking to be released from jail pending trial. The requests are related to Chansley’s belief in Shamanism, a religion which he says allows him to eat only organic food as a core tenet of practice.

The motion, filed by attorney Al Watkins, mirrors requests for organic food which Watkins made during a plea hearing last week.  Chansley pleaded not guilty to charges related to the siege.

Watkins says Chansley hasn’t eaten since authorities moved him to Washington, D.C., more than a week ago.  Chansley has lost more than twenty pounds, the documents state, and further note that his “physical condition . . . is declining.”

Included in the motion are handwritten requests by Chansley to prison officials for organic food.  In the requests, dated Jan. 27, Chansley states that he has “eaten only organic food for the past 8 years.”

“Because of my being a Shamanic practitioner, I only eat traditional food that has been made by God.  This means no GMO’s, herbicides, pesticides, or artificial preservatives or artificial colors,” Chansley continued.  “I have not eaten anything since Monday morning @ approx. 8:15 a.m.  Being w/o food is stressful due to the way it affects my serotonin levels.  As a spiritual man, I don’t mind fasting for a few days, but 5 days is the longest I have ever gone w/o food/fasted for.  I am humbly requesting a few organic canned vegetables, canned tuna (wild caught), or organic canned soups.  If I have to go a week w/o food or longer then so be it.  I will stay committed to my spiritual/religious beliefs even if it means I suffer physically.  I will continue to pray through the pain and do my best not to complain.  I simply ask that you understand that the physical effects of not eating organic are harmful to my body & bio-chemistry.”

QAnon Shaman Organic Food Request

“I have strayed from my spiritual diet only a few times over the last 8 years with detrimental physical effects,” the note continues.  “As a spiritual man I am wiling to suffer for my beliefs, hold to my convictions, and the bare weight of their consequences.  I simply ask that an exception plz be made for my special circumstances. the last facility I was @ in Arizona made such an exception for the short duration of my visit there.  I kindly & humbly ask that a brief exception be made in this location as well.  Please Chaplin [sic] as a man of God I ask that you please try to understand my convictions and plead my case to the necessary parties.  Thank you . . . ”

QAnon Shaman Organic Food Request

A chaplain denied Chansley’s request on either Feb. 1 or 2 — the date is typed incorrectly — because “Religious Services” at the Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections “was unable to find any religious merit pertaining to organic food or diets under Shamanism Practitioner” guidelines.  The denial also says that Chansley had “not identified” his “faith/belief” when he entered the institution.

An email from the jail’s attorney to Watkins, which was filed along with the motion, reasserts the institution’s position.  Contrary to Watkins’ arguments, the emails from the jail say Chansley “has not gone seven days without eating.”  The DOC attorney asked Watkins to provide documentation “demonstrating that your client [Chansley] requires an organic diet.”

In his legal motion, Watkins, the attorney, notes that Shamanism is a faith recognized by the U.S. Government.

“Shamanism is a system of religious practice,” Watkins explains to Judge Royce C. Lamberth, whose handwritten notes appear at the top of the filed document.  “Historically, it is often associated with indigenous and tribal societies, and involves belief that shamans, with a connection to the otherworld, have the power to heal the sick, communicate with spirits, and escort souls of the dead to the afterlife.  It is an ideology that used to be widely practiced in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Africa.  It is centered on the belief in supernatural phenomenon such as the world of gods, demons, and ancestral spirits.”

Watkins explains that Chansley believes disease originates outside the body.  “[U]nhealthy objects” can invade the body via so-called “object intrusion” and “cause serious illness.”  Such illness can be caused by non-organic food, Chansley believes.

“Defendant’s physical repudiation of non-organic food is one which was disclosed as giving rise to bodily responses which are immediate and involve systemic responses that are not simply discomforting, but debilitating and, notably, dehydrating,” Watkins continued.  He noted that a magistrate judge in Phoenix, Ariz., where Chansley was arrested and initially detained, “promptly directed the provision of organic food to the Defendant.”

After Watkins raised Chansley’s dietary requests to Judge Lamberth last week, he emailed the General Counsel for the D.C. Department of Corrections to sort out the particulars.  Watkins now describes the communication as “insufficient to meet the temporal urgency of the situation.”

Prison officials sometimes vet religious meal requests according to the generalized dictates of an inmate’s faith; an inmate’s personal interpretation of his faith is sometimes a secondary concern.  For example, the Montana Supreme Court in 2004 held that a Catholic prisoner was not entitled to meals specifically consisting of “fish and unleavened bread . . . on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during Lent.”  Rather, the court held that meatless meals would suffice.  The justices attached weight not to the inmate’s religious desire for a Biblical meal but rather to a clergyman’s statement about what the overall Catholic faith required:

Father Pins stated in his affidavit that the Catholic religion does not require fish to be consumed on days of abstinence from red meat. On the contrary, a vegetarian diet is acceptable. Moreover, Father Pins asserted that Catholics are not required to consume unleavened bread during Lent. Father Pins further stated that CCC’s new meal program does comply with the requirements of the Catholic faith.

Accordingly, legal issues involving religious meal requests have been litigated frequently.  Jail facilities are required to honor an inmate’s “sincerely held” religious beliefs; the requirement stems from the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.  Generally speaking, “[t]he courts have properly recognized that prison authorities must accommodate the right of prisoners to receive diets consistent with their religious scruples,” the Second Circuit Court of Appeals held in 1975 and reasserted in 1992.  As the Montana case illustrates, meals “consistent with” a particular religion may not be precisely what the inmate orders.

Watkins’ motion spends considerable time accusing former president Donald Trump of “incit[ing]” the siege on the Capitol Complex.  It says a policeman held open the doors and told rioters — “in effect, if not verbatim,” that “the building is yours.”  It also continues to press the assertion that Chansley may be willing to become a cooperating witness in Trump’s impeachment.

A federal grand jury indicted Chansley on six counts:  (1) civil disorder; (2) obstruction of an official proceeding; (3) entering and remaining in a restricted building; (4) disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; (5) violent entry and disorderly conduct in a capitol building; (6) and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

The U.S. Department of Justice objected to releasing Chansley before trial but took no position on the request for organic food.

Judge Lamberth granted Chansley’s motion for organic food late Wednesday afternoon.

Read the documents below.

QAnon Shaman Jacob Chansley… by Law&Crime

Editor’s note: this report began as a developing story. It has been updated substantially since its initial publication to include additional material from the court documents.  It has also been updated to include a discussion of the relevant case law surrounding religious meal requests.  

[Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images]

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February 3, 2021 at 01:54PM

Genius Wore Jacket with His Company’s Name and Phone Number on It While Storming the Capitol, Kicking in Window

They had his number.

Federal authorities identified an Ohio man as a Capitol invader by merely looking at the name and number on the jacket he was wearing while storming the Capitol and kicking in a window. As a result, Troy Faulkner, 39, now faces several federal charges.

The FBI said that it saw Faulkner on a YouTube video kicking in a Capitol window. But before that happened, the defendant was facing away from the camera and his jacket was exposed. This was important because that was a jacket identifying his painting business:

In the video, before jumping up on a ledge to kick in the window, FAULKNER could be seen facing away from the camera with his back turned. On the back of his jacket, there is the name of a company “FAULKNER PAINTING” and the telephone number “XXX-XXX- 6985.” Your affiant was able to confirm through the Ohio Secretary of State’s website that FAULKNER did own a painting business in his name consistent with the company’s logo on the back of the jacket.

This makes Faulkner at least the second Capitol rioter to be busted because of the jacket they chose to wear on Jan. 6.

The FBI said that Faulkner reported himself to authorities on Jan. 13, which was one week after the deadly insurrection unfolded. The feds said that Faulkner gave his date of birth and cell phone number. The cell phone number was the same as the number that was on the jacket. The affidavit said that the FBI also confirmed Faulkner’s identity by speaking with a Whitehall Police Department officer.

“This officer stated to your affiant that he had arrested FAULKNER in the past and confirmed that he reviewed the below still images and that the individual seen kicking in part of a window at the U. S. Capitol building was FAULKNER,” documents said. “This officer stated to your affiant that he was certain of this identification.”

Faulkner’s decision to report himself to the FBI stands in stark contrast to what allegedly said on Facebook days earlier.

To hear the FBI tell it, Faulkner talked a big game on Facebook about taking the fight right to the government, unlike Black Lives Matter protesters. Faulkner allegedly said BLM was too “p**** ass” to try this.

The affidavit didn’t get much better from here. The FBI cited text messages that Faulkner sent to Patch. He blamed police officers (increasingly common in these cases), seemed to suggest that Trump supporters were being set up, and claimed he wasn’t proud of what he did on Jan. 6. Faulkner claimed that he didn’t plan on storming the Capitol that day, raising an It Just Happened Because I Wasn’t Thinking Rationally defense.

“It seemed the cops were antagonizing us and letting them straight into the building in the front so I believe it was all set up for the Trump people,” said one message quoted in the Jan. 14 Patch article. “I knew I shouldn’t have kicked in the window. I was upset and wasn’t thinking rationally.”

“I don’t glorify what I did, nor am I proud of it,” Faulkner added—despite posting things on Facebook like, “we weren’t fighting against antifa we’re fighting against the government” and “We took it to there (sic) front door unlike the p**** ass BLM.”

The charges include: willfully injuring or committing any depredation ($1,000 damage to a window); corruptly obstructing, influencing or impeding any official proceeding, or attempting to do so; knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly conduct with an intent to obstruct Congress, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in any of the Capitol Buildings.

[Image via FBI]

The post Genius Wore Jacket with His Company’s Name and Phone Number on It While Storming the Capitol, Kicking in Window first appeared on Law & Crime.

via Law & Crime

February 1, 2021 at 12:22PM

‘Stephen Ignoramus’ Arrested After Posting Videos of Himself at Capitol Riots Telling Viewers to ‘Repent and Believe in Jesus’

Stephen Maury Baker AKA Stephen Ignoramus

The end may be near for the freedom of an accused U.S. Capitol insurrectionist known as “Stephen Ignoramus.” Arrested by the FBI on Monday, a man legally named Stephen Maury Baker allegedly broke into the seat of U.S. legislative spouting fire and brimstone.

“I’m Stephen. I’m a live-streamer and a musician. We’re having fun, huh? Repent, and believe in Jesus,” Ignoramus could be seen declaring on his live-stream upon entering the Capitol rotunda.

Approximately 10 minutes later, the suspect said Capitol Police were attempting to herd rioters out of the building.

“Gotta stay away from the cops, man,” Baker allegedly added. “Cops are trying to get us out of here.”

Taken into custody, the defendant has been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority.

According to his criminal complaint filed in a federal court in Washington, D.C., the defendant’s pious declaration came from one of several videos the bureau learned about from the public tip line. The footage was posted to various social media platforms by a user under the name Stephen Ignoramus, in clips later picked up by several mainstream media outlets.

A Jan. 7 Reuters article titled “Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol in a bid to overturn election defeat” even credited the embedded video to Stephen Ignoramus. His videos also ran on CNN in the days following the insurrection.

After reviewing the videos, the FBI discovered that the person filming and narrating the videos identified himself to several people off-camera as “Stephen Ignoramus,” saying he was streaming clips to both YouTube and Instagram. At least twice in the uploaded clips, the suspect appears on camera to address viewers.

He appeared to revel in ignominy. After exiting the building, Baker allegedly posted a video in which he tells an off-camera person that he was on “ABC and Reuters and shit.”

“I was inside for like an hour, dude. I was one of like the last 10 people in there. I’m on Instagram and YouTube. I’m Stephen Ignoramus. I don’t matter though; this shit is history,” he was quoted.

With the assistance of at least four anonymous tippers, the FBI said they could match the person who filmed and posted videos under the Stephen Ignoramus name to North Carolina native Stephen Maury Baker.

As of Monday, the only videos remaining on Stephen Ignoramus’s YouTube channel were four videos of him proselytizing and playing Christian music on an acoustic guitar.

Read the full criminal complaint below:

Baker Stephen – Redacted Complaint Statement of Facts 0 by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via YouTube screengrab]

The post ‘Stephen Ignoramus’ Arrested After Posting Videos of Himself at Capitol Riots Telling Viewers to ‘Repent and Believe in Jesus’ first appeared on Law & Crime.

via Law & Crime

February 1, 2021 at 06:12PM

Proud Boys Leader Exposed as Federal Informant

In a Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Enrique Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling, reports Reuters. While Tarrio denied working undercover or cooperating in cases against others, the former federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, confirmed that “he cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”

The records uncovered by Reuters are startling because they show that a leader of a far-right group now under intense scrutiny by law enforcement was previously an active collaborator with criminal investigators. Washington police arrested Tarrio in early January when he arrived in the city two days before the Capitol Hill riot. He was charged with possessing two high-capacity rifle magazines, and burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a December demonstration by supporters of former President Donald Trump. The D.C. Superior Court ordered him to leave the city pending a court date in June.

via The Crime Report

January 28, 2021 at 11:08AM