Jan. 6 Defendant Accused of Aiding Other Protester Avoid Capture Granted Home Arrest Ahead of Hearing

Jan. 6 Defendant Accused of Aiding Other Protester Avoid Capture Granted Home Arrest Ahead of Hearing
Supporters of President Donald Trump protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

A Florida man accused of being connected to what prosecutors described as a “network of supporters,” who helped protesters during the 2021 Jan. 6 Capitol breach to avoid capture by the FBI, has been granted home arrest by a D.C. judge.

Thomas Paul Osborne had previously been charged with interfering with police but a federal judge ordered his release on March 14, pending his trial. A Justice Department prosecutor argued before the ruling that Mr. Osborne poses a flight risk. He has been in detention since his arrest on Feb. 22.

The prosecutor claimed that Mr. Osborne aided another Jan. 6 defendant, Christopher Worrell, who disappeared last year after his conviction of assaulting police with pepper spray during the breach on the Capitol, believing that Mr. Worrell lived at Mr. Osborne’s Florida home for around six weeks while on the run.

The prosecution further outlined potential ties between Mr. Osborne and the family of Jonathan Pollock and Olivia Pollock, a brother and sister from Lakeland, Florida, where Mr. Osborne resides.

The Pollock siblings were declared fugitives after getting charged with alleged crimes related to the Capitol breach. Mr. Osborne traveled to Washington, D.C., with the Pollock siblings and their parents on Jan. 6, 2021, to attend then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House.

The Pollocks, along with a third suspect, Joseph Hutchinson, were arrested in January this year at a ranch in Groveland, Florida.

Jonathan Pollock had reportedly been on the run from law enforcement for over two years, while Olivia Pollock and Mr. Hutchinson were on the run for approximately 10 months after allegedly tampering with their court-ordered GPS monitoring devices.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Osborne worked at a gun shop owned by another brother of the Pollocks, and that he was acquainted with members of the Pollock family, and regularly attended church and prayer meetings with them.

Federal authorities believe the Pollock siblings avoided capture with the help of their relatives. Additionally, prosecutors claimed in the court filing that the siblings were given money and supplies by “supporters,” who also facilitated a network of people willing and able to assist them in avoiding capture.

While Mr. Osborne hasn’t been officially accused of sheltering the Pollocks, prosecutors cited ties to the Pollock family as sufficient grounds for fear he would flee.

“While Osborne may not have a passport or foreign ties,” prosecutors wrote, “the concerns presented by his access to the Pollocks’ network are the same: he has the means to flee and avoid detection by law enforcement.”

Mr. Osborne’s lawyers argued that prosecutors are accusing him of being guilty purely on the grounds of being associated with the Pollock family. Defense attorney Sylvia Irvin said Mr. Osborne initially tried to turn himself in on the day following Olivia Pollock and Mr Hutchinson’s initial arrest in July 2021.

“He didn’t hide. He didn’t run,” Ms. Irvin told the judge.

The charges against Mr. Osborne include a felony charge of civil disorder and three misdemeanors, to which he pleaded not guilty on March 14.

Upon searching his home in December, FBI agents reportedly found several guns, packed “go-bags,” and some of Mr. Worrell’s belongings.

Mr Worrell disappeared in August 2023 but was arrested by federal Agents the following month at his girlfriend’s home in Florida. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

After initially being ordered to remain in jail pending his trial, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., overruled the magistrate and ordered that Mr. Osborne to remain confined to a sister’s home in Susquehanna Pennsylvania, following his release.

At the remote hearing on March 14, the judge cautioned Mr. Osborne against attempting to flee, saying that doing so would have serious consequences.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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