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'Proud Boy' Jan 6 riot defendant seeks release from pre-trial detention

Reuters logo Reuters 9/22/2021 By Mark Hosenball
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Building is stormed by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021 © Reuters/Leah Millis FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol Building is stormed by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge set a Friday hearing for a possible ruling on a request to be released from pre-trial detention by a member of the far-right Proud Boy movement facing charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Lawyers for Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, N.Y., presently held in a Washington D.C. jail, argued on Wednesday to U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly that restrictive prison conditions make it difficult for them to consult with their client and for him to review potentially relevant evidence, including 7,500 investigative memoranda and 100 days of video.

Defense lawyer Steven Metcalf said Pezzola's mother and common-law wife were willing to put up a family house as bail security.

Pezzola's lawyers argued that jail visits to their client have been difficult to organize and that phone calls have been blocked. Defense lawyer Martin Tankleff said prison officials had not contacted Pezzola's lawyers to talk about greater access to their client though prosecutors were aware of the issue.

The riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump broke out as Congress met to certify Joe Biden's November presidential election victory. Prosecutors said last week that more than 600 defendants had been arrested on riot-related charges.

Pezzola faces charges including conspiracy, civil disorder and unlawfully entering restricted buildings.

Prosecutors have argued that Pezzola, known as "Spaz" to associates, posed a "serious danger to the community and a serious risk of flight."

A government court filing, citing social media, said Pezzola was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol, using a police shield to break a window and allowing other protesters to enter the building.

Once inside the Capitol, Pezzola chased a police officer up the stairs near the entrance to the Senate chamber, and smoked a cigar while bragging on video about the attack, prosecutors allege.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Bill Berkrot)


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