Judge Orders Release of Jan. 6 Defendant After 20 Months in Pretrial Detention

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
November 11, 2022USshare
Judge Orders Release of Jan. 6 Defendant After 20 Months in Pretrial Detention
Ryan Nichols and Alex Harkrider outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (US DOJ via The Epoch Times)

A Texas man accused of breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is set to be released after 20 months in pretrial detention.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan, a Reagan appointee, ordered the release of Ryan Nichols, the Jan. 6 defendant, during a hearing in Washington on Nov. 10.

Hogan is the judge responsible for Nichols, a Marine veteran, continuing to be held behind bars as the man awaits his trial but said that Nichols is not able to adequately prepare for the trial if he continues to be detained, KTLV reported.

Hogan pointed to conditions at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Virginia, where Nichols is detained. It’s not possible for Nichols to review all the evidence that he needs to before his trial at the jail, Hogan said.

A Nov. 22 hearing is scheduled to outline the conditions of Nichols’ release. The defendant has proposed his wife, Bonnie Nichols, as his custodian.

“Judge Hogan granted our application for pre-trial release to give Ryan the ability to prepare for trial,” Joseph McBride, an attorney representing the defendant, said in a statement.

Nichols has been held since Jan. 18, 2021. In denying a motion for bail in December 2021, Hogan said that the evidence against Nichols “is strong,” that Nichols was “a danger to his community,” and that no conditions would reasonably assure Nichols compliance.

Government officials have admitted that a USB drive containing discovery materials was improperly seized from Nichols at the D.C. Jail in August, but said the incident did not “impair his ability to participate in the preparation of his defense” because the drive was returned about 90 minutes later.

McBride said officials may have copied or otherwise accessed attorney-client privileged materials from the drive during that time. He also said that a second drive “mysteriously disappeared” after Nichols was removed from his cell in September.

Nichols was transferred to Rappahannock earlier this year.

Additionally, the policy acknowledged by the government of only allowing defendants access to computers for two-week periods at a time makes it “impossible” for Nichols to “properly prepare for trial,” McBride said in one filing.

According to charging documents, Nichols and a friend, Alex Harkrider, breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 and clashed with law enforcement officers.

In one Facebook post, the men posed outside the Capitol.

“Patriots stood their ground today! We aren’t done yet, either! You want to steal our election, and not hear us in court? Good! Now you’ll hear our civil unrest!” Nichols wrote.

From The Epoch Times

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