Judge Says He Found No Evidence of Government Misconduct in Jan. 6 Case

Judge Says He Found No Evidence of Government Misconduct in Jan. 6 Case
Protesters gather on the west front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

The federal judge overseeing the Proud Boys seditious-conspiracy trial in Washington on April 16 rejected a defendant’s calls for a mistrial and his allegations of evidence tampering, withholding of exculpatory evidence, and government misconduct.

In a 10-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly rejected requests from defendant Dominic Pezzola for a mistrial or dismissal of charges.

Kelly called Pezzola’s conclusions “bizarre” and said they “lack legal and factual support.”

Pezzola claimed he was deprived of exculpatory evidence from video footage aired in March on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Dominic Pezzola
Proud Boys defendant Dominic Pezzola smashes Capitol windows with a riot shield on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. DOJ/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Drawn from 41,000 hours of security video from the U.S. Capitol, the Fox broadcasts claimed that defendant Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, was escorted around the building by police on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Pezzola identifies footage—of other people—treating the Capitol ‘respectfully’ after entering it,” Kelly wrote.

“He concludes ‘that the Senate chamber was never violently breached’ and that there is no ‘evidence of any raucous or extremely disruptive or violent demonstration in the Senate chamber.’

“But Pezzola has not shown how any of this relates to an element of an offense with which he is charged—or how it relates to him at all,” the judge wrote. “Thus, it does not tend to show his ‘freedom from fault, guilt or blame.’”

Kelly wrote that Pezzola was sent a majority of the video he identifies in September 2021 and the rest in January.

Pezzola is one of five defendants charged with seditious conspiracy to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He is on trial for 10 alleged offenses, including using a riot shield to smash Capitol windows.

Other defendants in the case are Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, Zachary Rehl, Ethan Nordean, and Joseph Biggs. The trial began in December 2022 and could move to closing arguments this week.

Kelly ruled that Pezzola has no standing to bring up allegations that the government monitored privileged communications between defendant Rehl and his former attorney.

Portland Proud Boys
A leader of the Portland Proud Boys appears at a gathering on July 16, 2022, in Gladstone, Ore. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

“Any strategy the government might have gleaned from the messages long predated Pezzola’s joinder in the case and so cannot have involved him,” Kelly wrote. “And the Court has reviewed the messages; unsurprisingly, none reference Pezzola.”

Kelly also rejected claims of government misconduct related to hundreds of hidden messages found in a spreadsheet prepared by Special Agent Nicole Miller.

Pezzola claimed that FBI agents “admitted fabricating evidence and following orders to destroy hundreds of items of evidence,” Kelly wrote.

‘Unfounded Speculation’

The judge wrote that the hidden message about destroying 338 items of evidence was from a nearly 20-year-old case in which the defendant had exhausted avenues for appeal.

Neither the case nor the evidence related to the Proud Boys.

After the hidden messages were discovered, prosecutors produced a new version of the spreadsheet with 80 messages removed because they were classified or marked as “law-enforcement sensitive.”

Kelly said he reviewed the 80 messages and determined prosecutors had no duty to produce them to the Proud Boys defendants in the first place.

“Pezzola’s cries of foul play rest on ‘unfounded speculation,’ which this court has already cautioned ‘has no place in a courtroom,’” Kelly wrote.

“Not one of Pezzola’s contentions withstands scrutiny. His factual premises lack support, and his legal premises cannot be squared with case law.”

From The Epoch Times

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