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Prosecutors slam 6th try for release from riot defendant who said the people who stormed the Capitol were like 'Disney World crowds'

INSIDER logo INSIDER 11/26/2021 kniemeyer@insider.com (Kenneth Niemeyer)
Kenneth Harrelson (with the green arrow above him) was seen inside the Capitol Rotunda taking photos or videos on January 6, 2021. Department of Justice © Department of Justice Kenneth Harrelson (with the green arrow above him) was seen inside the Capitol Rotunda taking photos or videos on January 6, 2021. Department of Justice
  • Prosecutors asked a judge to deny Kenneth Harrelson's sixth request for pre-trial release on Friday.
  • Harrelson has pleaded not guilty to five charges related to the Capitol riot on January 6.
  • He claimed in his request that people who stormed the building were like "crowds at Disney World."

Prosecutors slammed a Capitol riot defendant's sixth request for pre-trial release in which he said he entered the Rotunda "peacefully" to take photos and that the crowd around him "looked like Disney World crowds."

According to court documents reviewed by Insider, prosecutors on Friday requested that Judge Amit Mehta deny Kenneth Harrelson's latest try at release, saying his request was "rife with outlandish arguments." In a previous plea for release that Mehta denied, Harrelson cited COVID-19 conspiracy theories as a reason that he should be released from custody before his trial.

Harrelson is accused of entering the Capitol on January 6 and faces charges of conspiracy; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; and tampering with documents or proceedings. Harrelson has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The prosecution noted in its request for denial that Harrelson has attempted to obtain a release from jail six different times with four different lawyers representing him over the time span of the requests, court documents show.


Video: Panel probing U.S. Capitol riot plans 'multiple weeks' of hearings (Reuters)

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"Defendant Harrelson has now retained another new attorney, but he puts forth no new facts or law in his present bond motion," prosecutors said.

The court has repeatedly denied Harrelson's requests for bond and release, saying that he failed to address any of the evidence that the prosecution presented against him and "merely makes assertions about the lack of evidence that he engaged in violent acts or directly destroyed property," according to court documents.

Harrelson claimed in his most recent request for release that the thousands of people who entered the Capitol building on January 6 did so peacefully and looked like "Disney World crowds," court documents show. He questioned why "the act of peacefully entering the Capitol ... Should see these Americans magically transformed into charged, despised, and dehumanized insurrectionists."

Prosecutors shut down Harrelson's "ludicrous claim" that crowds entered the Capitol peacefully, citing a video he took inside the building showing "his co-conspirators (and possibly Harrelson himself)" chanting "Treason!" as they forced their way inside, court documents show.

More than 700 people have been charged and at least 120 people have pleaded guilty to charges connected to the Capitol riot.

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