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Tucker Carlson defended a man accused of storming the Capitol with zip-tie handcuffs, asking for 'perspective' in how he is treated

Business Insider logo Business Insider 4/7/2021 tporter@businessinsider.com (Tom Porter)
Tucker Carlson wearing a suit and tie: Tucker Carlson defended Capitol riots suspect Eric Munchel on the April 6 edition of his Fox News show. Fox News © Fox News Tucker Carlson defended Capitol riots suspect Eric Munchel on the April 6 edition of his Fox News show. Fox News
  • Tucker Carlson defended the Capitol riots suspect who was pictured carrying zip-tie handcuffs.
  • Carlson said a judge's earlier characterization of him as dangerous was misleading.
  • The host has long sought to portray the response to the riots as a bid to persecute conservatives.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday defended Eric Munchel, who prosecutors identified as the man pictured during the Capitol riot in the Senate chamber in tactical gear with zip-tie handcuffs.

The image - alongside a second figure said to be his mother Lisa Eisenhart - became one of the defining scenes of the unrest on January 6. The two were arrested together.

a person sitting on a chair in front of a building: Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Win McNamee/Getty Images © Win McNamee/Getty Images Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a monologue Tuesday night, Carlson criticized a decision by a judge to hold the pair in custody until their trial because they were deemed dangerous. The decision was later overturned by a different judge, and the two were freed under house arrest last week.

"Neither Lisa Eisenhart or her son damaged any property in the Capitol or committed any violence, they just walked in to what we used to refer to as 'The People's House,'" said Carlson.

"And yet somehow Joe Biden's Justice Department convinced a federal judge that Lisa Eisenhart was quote 'a threat to our Republic' and her son was a 'would be martyr.' Keep in mind, these are people whose crime was trespassing in the Capitol. We're not endorsing that, but some perspective please."

Both Munchel and Eisenhart have been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds, conspiracy and civil disorder. They deny the charges.

The pair were release from custody last week to await trial under home confinement in Tennessee. They were allowed to leave custody thanks to a ruling from a federal appeals court, which drew a distinction between violent and non-violent rioters, reported the Associated Press.

The ruling overturned a decision by a US District Court judge, who had said the pair were extremists, too dangerous to be released.

Federal agents had been investigating whether Munchel or others carrying zip-tie restraints had planned on taking hostages. No evidence of such plans has emerged publicly, The Washington Post reported.

Munchel has claimed in court filings he found the zip-tie handcuffs on a table inside the Capitol building and took them to ensure they weren't by police used to restrain protestors, and did not enter carrying them.

According to the AP, prosecutors allege that Munchel and Eisenhart wore bulletproof tactical vests while storming the Capitol, that Munchel carried a stun gun and that the pair stashed weapons in a bag outside the building before entering.

Carlson has long sought to portray the reaction to the January 6 violence as overblown, and the Biden administration's push to clamp down on far-right extremism as a covert bid to persecute ordinary conservatives.

Michael Sherwin, a federal prosecutor who led the investigation into the riots until March, told CBS News that the Justice Department was pursuing 400 criminal cases in relation to the Capitol riots.

He said that of those defendants, "the majority of those, 80, 85%, maybe even 90" had been charged with non-violent offences, with 100 charged with violence against police, 25 with destroying federal property, and more than 25 with conspiracy.

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