Why DOJ Isn’t Making Plea Deals: The Delayed Obstruction and Even More Delayed Assault Charge against Patrick Montgomery

On January 7, Patrick Montgomery’s associates started turning him in to authorities. One person forwarded a picture showing him in the Senate chamber and warned him he had saved the picture and would be forwarding it to authorities.

Another associate saw the same picture and IDed Montgomery to the FBI. The associate later shared this email exchange with the FBI.

Tipster: You have been reported to the police in DC as well as the FBI

Mongtomery: I’m not a scared cat or running from anything. . . . Im [sic] so deeply covered by the best Federal Defense lawyers in the country in case you chicken shit cry boys don’t want it takes to defend our freedom from these corrupt politicians.

Montgomery: I didn’t storm the castle violently. My group was let in peacefully by the police we were talking to with respect. We came a[n]d left peacefully before the anarchist and Antifa showed up breaking shit and being hoodlums.

Two more people shared Montgomery’s social media bragging with the FBI.

The same day all his associates starting sharing those boasts, Montgomery deleted his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

It was too late.

Montgomery was arrested on January 17. Four days later, Montgomery was charged with trespassing via Information. And after both sides agreed to a delay on February 5, nothing more seemed to happen.

All the while, though, the FBI continued to investigate based off the pictures Montgomery had posted to Facebook hours after the insurrection, including this one showing him with two other men at the Capitol.

On March 16, the FBI interviewed someone in the middle of a protracted lawsuit with the middle guy in the picture, a guy named Brady Knowlton. That person IDed Knowlton, Montgomery, and also the guy on the left (though the FBI isn’t telling us his identity, for now).

In the interim, the FBI had obtained CCTV video footage of Knowlton, Montgomery, and yet another guy, entering the Capitol via the Upper West Terrace door at 2:35PM on January 6.

At 2:36PM, CCTV caught the three of them in the Rotunda.

By 2:45PM — ten minutes after entering the Capitol — CCTV caught the three of them in the Senate Gallery.

The FBI packaged all that up in an arrest warrant for Knowlton’s arrest — on trespassing and also an obstruction charge, for interrupting the vote count — approved on April 1.

Only after FBI had obtained the warrant for one of Montgomery’s close buddies did they finalize a protective order with him so they could start sharing the evidence that implicated not just him, but also at least one of his buddies. Montgomery signed a protective order on April 5. Knowlton was arrested on April 7. Knowlton’s [three!] attorneys spent much of last week asking the government to present what it believed was exculpatory evidence showing that cops let them walk in to the Capitol the grand jury.

Our Motion alleges that video recordings in the Government’s possession show that some Capitol Police officers and/or other law enforcement agents moved metal barricades aside to allow citizens to move toward the Capitol and welcomed citizens to enter the Capitol Building. Such conduct by the officers and their acquiescence to entry was an implicit authorization to exercise a protected right on January 6, not merely to engage in conduct which is neither protected nor forbidden by the law.

[snip]

Our Motion asks this Court to direct Government counsel to search the inventory of videos and other evidence and produce for Mr. Knowlton and for the grand jury evidence of acquiescence and invitation by Capitol Police and/or other law enforcement agents to enter into the building, particularly if Mr. Knowlton can be identified as being among those who entered under such circumstances, and simply inform the grand jury that this request has been made and that they are permitted to consider that information before passing their judgment. If he did enter under such circumstances, he was exercising a right for which he may not be constitutionally punished. And such evidence is not merely exculpatory, it proves total innocence.

Instead, the government obtained an indictment against Montgomery and Knowlton. Not only did the government add obstruction charges to Montgomery, but they also described Montgomery forcibly assaulting or resisting an MPD officer.

And all that’s before you consider the two other guys included in pictures of them from the day.

I’ve got a hunch that we’re going to be hearing more about these fellows. Far more.

I’ve got a similar hunch that the story of what happened in the Senate chamber is going to get far more interesting in coming days.

Update: Let me clarify my title. For over a month, there has been a lot of reporting about imminent plea deals for all the people who, like Montgomery, were “just” MAGA tourists. And that’s what Montgomery seemed to be in all our tracking lists since then.

When the Knowlton arrest was rolled out, it became clear that Montgomery had some accomplices (but at least one and probably two remain unidentified). It also became clear — though DOJ has not presented what evidence they have of it — that both were deliberately trying to delay the vote count. That’s not surprising by itself — with maybe one exception, everyone who made their way to the Senate Chamber got charged with obstruction. But the indictment against the two makes it clear that Montgomery also engaged in some kind of violent resistance to cops.

There are a number of reasons I think there’s more to this. But one of those is the way they treated the investigation of Knowlton (including finding someone he was in a multi-year lawsuit with to ID him, which is harsh), and the way they used his charging to add the assault charge to the Montgomery indictment.

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48 replies
  1. skua says:

    That is quite a bulge in the down jacket of the unnamed associate on the left outside the Capitol.
    Looks like there might be about a gallon volumwise under there.
    I see an antenna poking out.

    • subtropolis says:

      Yes, that does look like a radio antenna. Good catch. Perhaps the FBI has kept silent about him for reasons far more interesting than that he hasn’t yet been identified (as I’d suggested below).

    • Lawnboy says:

      I see a yellow/greenish thingy of similar colour on both left and centre men. Note the pocket of the centre , and that “lefty” has one obvious radio with a black mast plus the bright colour one too. Hmmmmmm?

      • Lawn says:

        From “Poncho and Lefty”

        All the Federales say
        They could have had him any day
        They only let him slip away
        Out of kindness, I suppose
        Lefty, he can’t sing the blues
        All night long like he used to
        The dust that Pancho bit down South
        Ended up in Lefty’s mouth

        Townes Van Zandt

          • Lawnboy says:

            What can I say;
            1. 6 years of college ….for a 2 year program!
            2. Pun. The lowest form of humour
            3. Punaise @8:27. Cant touch that. (nor do I want to)

  2. wiltmellow says:

    These clowns claim to have given an oath to the constitution.

    Yet they are willing to install an unelected president, to hang his vice president, to shut down congress and to murder or take hostage members of Congress. This seems like an indisputable betrayal of these “Oath keepers” oath to the Constitution.

    Like an arsonist joining the fire department or US legislators flying to Moscow to celebrate the 4th of July in 2018, can these idiots possibly act more contrary to what they expressly claim motivates them?

    That what it seems like to me. Just flat out treachery.

  3. John Forde says:

    Who on the US Capitol Police was assigned to defend the upper west terrace door? Have their telecom trails been sought?

  4. Ruthie says:

    Looks like you already have an update for your previous post. That didn’t last long.

    I could be wrong (just ask bmaz! 🤓), but it seems to me that the indictments have been coming in clusters. Or at least, the public’s understanding of the characters and events of 1/6 advances in fits and starts. I guess in a case involving conspiracy charges, that shouldn’t be surprising.

    It sounds like you’re suggesting that another such cluster may be imminent. If it’s what you say, I love it.

    • emptywheel says:

      The investigation is now proceeding in more orderly fashion–and yeah, I think they’re working on understanding what has happened at a series of nodes. And they have or are setting up some key cooperation agreements.

      And one of those nodes they’ve been working on is the Senate.

  5. subtropolis says:

    My assumption is that, despite having had someone ID the other two, the FBI has yet to confirm who they are.

    But, you haven’t answered the question in the title. I’m going to assume that it was only meant to get us thinking a certain way. Well, I’m curious about your hunches. I don’t know what that might be about, but I think I might understand what you are getting at with that question, at least.

    Are you suggesting that dropping the initial indictment was calculated to cause the defendants to squirm a bit while DoJ continues to work on something bigger that these two either had a part in or might have witnessed? Say, something that prosecutors might mention in passing, about which the defendants might be in a position to provide a little help with in return for making these charges go away?

    • emptywheel says:

      No. I think it was just an outgrowth of the panic. They had NO sources in the far right, got totally surprised, and had to do triage immediately. Some of the people they arrested in the first few days turned out to be important. Others less so. With others, they’re still trying to reconstruct — and some of those people actually DID use good OpSec and deleted messages.

      It took weeks to collect the CCTV and even longer to pull all the video of interest taken by participants.

      I do think things are going to start crystalizing more in several directions though.

      • Dutch Louis says:

        Montgomery is, according to a witness cited by Fox 13 (4/8/21 Fox13.com), Knowlton’s “right-hand man.” And Brady Knowlton is Executive / Vice President of Monarch Financial Inc, a financial consultancy firm in Dallas, Texas, providing advisory services to energy companies. At first sight not really the kind of people who were just by accident strolling around a bit inside the Capitol.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah, Marcy is exactly right. Been trying to emphasize this for a while. As things normally go, this is all moving at light speed. Chill a little, and give the govt some space.

        • Frank Probst says:

          I really appreciate this opinion. I have no idea how this type of investigation usually goes, but thus far, my impression is that the feds are investigating this fairly quickly and efficiently.

          My (totally uninformed) opinion is that it’s going to continue moving like this until one of these cases goes to trial or somebody decides to plead out just so they can get their charges and their sentences reduced, and it’s not going to be a great deal for the defendant. It’s going to happen because someone’s lawyer sits them down and makes them watch the video of themselves assaulting a cop, over and over and over again, and tells them, “That’s you assaulting a cop. On video. On a near-continuous loop. You are not going to get acquitted if we go to trial. You can hope for a single juror to hold out and get a mistrial, but the chances that the government won’t retry you are slim. Take the deal.”

          • bmaz says:

            The last really big conspiracy case I had involved, depending on who you believed, a minimum of about 100, and a maximum of about 200, people. Granted, not all were in country, but most all possible were. That investigation (and yes there was some violence involved) took well over a year to even start being charged, much less initially pleaded or decided. The very first pleas took many more months after being charged to be entered. This is not new in the least.

            • subtropolis says:

              Just to be clear, I am not one of those who’ve been clamouring for immediate results. I’m anxious to see them reach the rotting head of this conspiracy, but understand the magnitude of the effort that this is taking. I’m definitely chill.

          • emptywheel says:

            Remember there are upwards of 100 misdemeanor defendants. They’re expecting some kind of plea–weeks maybe or fines.

            Then there are by my counts about 10 people who are likely discussing cooperation deals, on top of Jon Schaffer who already got one. The govt appears to have been very carefully planning these out.

            When you’ve got 400 defendants, you’ve got a lot of potential sources of leverage to get people to cooperate.

      • My Uncle Fred says:

        So to say the unsaid part out loud. Texas oil fields and finance – got to be the intersection of lots of dirty deeds and dirty operators.

        This is a guy who is connected in that world, has plenty of money and business. Also a bit narcissistic about his hunting and fishing, likes to brag and be on TV.

        This doesn’t feel like the kind of guy who is suckered by the big lie. But it does sound like someone who would back the big lie, both to serve his ends, and to be macho.

        More fundamentally, he may provide a link to people who like to keep their hands clean while having dirty things done.

        • PieIsDamnGood says:

          Feels like a wealthy racist to me.

          I think you’re giving him more credit than he deserves. Wealth, education and power does not rule out idiocy, especially when religion/race/politics is the topic.

  6. Silly but True says:

    Amazing how all of these prolific “amateur journalists” somehow manage to film themselves doing everything under the sun except being peacefully invited in.

    It may have happened to someone at some point, but if it even happened at all, that would perhaps be a fascinating and arguably a more or the most significant detail of Jan. 6 experiences.

    You’d think someone would’ve Snapchatted “See this great CP officer let me in” if it happened to them.

    • Leoghann says:

      Exactly. “But the nice officers let us in, and told us they were on our side” has been a go-to cover story since Jake Angeli Chansley used it on 07 January. And yet, not one of the accused or any of their media outlets have been able to show any photographic evidence of that. It appears that a couple of the groups of Proud Boys, as well as the Oath Keepers, at least gave a little forethought to covering their tracks. But the others have only come up with lame excuses and wild tales. I’m waiting to hear someone claim they were beamed down there following an alien abduction.

      • My Uncle Fred says:

        I don’t know the capital but believe that the 1st floor is at the top of the stairs as in this picture: https://live.staticflickr.com/7050/8690893664_e6ae3ca7c4_b.jpg
        The area between the stairs and the building should be the west terrace. Look up one floor in the central section, and you can see a smaller upper terrace formed by a recess in the west wall.
        Here is a picture of the second floor plan: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4f/US_Capitol_second_floor_plan_1997_105th-congress.gif
        You will notice that there is an entrance-way from the upper terrace into the interior of the 2nd floor which includes the National Statuary Hall and the Great Rotunda, and the two Houses of Congress. Note also that there is no stairway connected to the upper terrace.
        Its been noted that the Upper Terrace was accessed by an external stairwell. This was no doubt part of the construction preparing for the Inauguration. The mere use of thus form of entrance should establish that the accused new that they hadn’t made their way through an authorized portal.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        What struck me was Knowlton’s (three!) attorneys asking the government to find and provide the exculpatory evidence–video of CPD inviting him into the Capitol. What the hell is he paying *them* for?

    • My Uncle Fred says:

      There’s that, but perhaps more telling… they weren’t aware that the capital was breached violently, before they entered? That doesn’t seem likely.
      Then there’s the matter that the picture of the entrance makes clear (see all the boxes) that its not a public place to enter/exit the capital. The lie doesn’t wash.

      • P J Evans says:

        They probably use the back door/garage door at their house and with all their friends. (Not kidding – in west Texas, the front door is for strangers. Friends use the other door[s].)

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      IANAL, yet I wonder about the status of legal prohibitions such as the capital being closed to the public for the certification of the vote, and the legal leeway/authorities Capital police might utilize to temporarily lift a legal prohibition. My (obviously) inexpert hunch is that “their acquiescence to entry was an implicit authorization to exercise a protected right” is not going to carry anybody’s day.

  7. P J Evans says:

    I wonder why these idjits still try to claim it’s a “peaceful” protest when they show up in helmets, bullet-resistant vests, with pepper/bear spray and stuff that can be (and frequently is) used as a weapon.

    • subtropolis says:

      Because of the hordes of anteeefah they were expecting. That seems to be the common excuse going around. That, and that the violence was all carried out by anteeefah, of course.

  8. harpie says:

    [p. 4/8] Approximately one minute later, at 2:36 p.m., CCTV shows KNOWLTON enter the Capitol Rotunda. He stayed there for several minutes and then left the Rotunda and entered the Rotunda Lobby at approximately 2:39 p.m. The screenshot below shows KNOWLTON in the Rotunda Lobby. Behind him is S-1 and in the far left corner of the frame is Montgomery wearing a baseball-style hat and Covid mask.

    KNOWLTON was in the ROTUNDA LOBBY just as the East Doors were breached for the second time, [possibly with help from INSIDE].

    Info:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uzKC6f9pPFQfBJM_jO-iNeFXQlZIP4ad_J4vizClENI/edit#heading=h.ipvwabpblxgr

  9. Tom S. says:

    If it wasn’t for the high profile of the Jan. 6 insurrection, I’d venture to say odds were at least even that Brady’s dad, Lary, has “the juice” to make all of this go away, as far as his son’s troubles are concerned. The president of Monarch Financial, Nathan A. McGough, is also an employee of Michael Foster’s and Lary’s BASA, a crude oil extractor of considerable volume.
    http://basaresources.com/management/

    A Lifetime of Memories Preserved in Plaques: Lary Knowlton
    https://www.inthenewsonline.com/blog/bid/101774/A-Lifetime-of-Memories-Preserved-in-Plaques-Lary-Knowlton
    Whenever he can, Lary goes out on trips with his sons Brady and Corey Knowlton to hone their hunting skills while getting in priceless bonding time. Of course, with the kind of resources that they have, they go hunting for more than deer and ducks. Knowlton family hunting trips can take place nearly anywhere on the globe…

    Brady’s bro, Corey, paid $350K to hunt and kill a black rhino. Anybody else smell Don, Jr., in this background?
    https://globalnews.ca/news/2009963/conservation-hunt-cory-knowlton-paid-350k-to-kill-endangered-black-rhino/

    • emptywheel says:

      All interesting details. Montgomery is a guide. And the third guy in the picture is Knowton’s “right hand man.” So maybe also in the extractive industries.

    • Dutch Louis says:

      This following part of the In The News blog Tom S mentions, gives the extra touch: “How does the Knowlton family preserve their favorite stories so that they can share them with others for years to come? By creating commemorative custom wall plaques to preserve the articles featuring their tales. Each time Lary or one of his sons is featured in the news, whether for their achievements in hunting or in business, Lary orders a keepsake plaque for his house and another one for his office and his horse barn and his hunting lodge. This way, he can share these stories with his family, his houseguests, and even his employees at BASA.”

      Hmm… I’m not sure this story about Brady will be preserved in wall plaques, although, you never know.

    • bmaz says:

      I imagine he was getting a LOT of blowback inside the department as his interview performance was beyond inappropriate to the point of being arguably unethical.

    • bmaz says:

      Don’t wander in here with that bullshit disinformation and claim. Glenn was the one lying and misrepresenting from the start, and he still is now. Everybody knew that the autopsy investigation and report had not been completed so that there was no causal link established yet. That was not just widely known but consistently reported in the press. Glenn is straight up lying about that. And now that the report is out, Glenn is lying about what it really does and does not state.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Glenn Greenwald is a misogynist and narcissist. He has decided to be a well-paid shock jock rather than a civil libertarian and reporter. As with any narcissist, his ego cannot contemplate his not being at the center of attention or being wrong. Given the limits of reality, that makes lying the order of the day.

    • Geoff says:

      Greenwald is hardly ever right anymore, unless you mean alt-right or right-wing. I don’t know what happened to him, but his somewhat decent reporting after the financial crisis was about the last thing that I can recommend. After that, he and Taibbi held hands with Aaron Mate and skipped down the path to crazytown.

      As for his opinions on the Sicknick death, he just can’t seem to stop doubling down on the lying and attacks. It’s always the same, he has this foundation built on an unwillingness to believe the reality about Trump and Russia, and has to keep finding more and more twisted logic to try to hold on to that more and more obviously busted argument – and the coup flows from Trump, who he somehow must defend, however pathetically.

      I always wonder who owns these people with opinions that are so clearly disassociated from the facts. And now that more facts are coming out (I mean, stuff we already knew, but that the public is now starting to get a better story on), it seems Glenn is just backed into a corner and there is no way to walk away from his mistakes. The guy really needs a full reset. Just delete his entire history of 10+ years, say sorry, and maybe rethink things. But the world doesnt work that way, and ultimately, his fate is disgrace. But I digress..

      The thing about the autopsy report on Sicknick that really bothers me is the “died of natural causes” line, that, taken out of context, is just another one of the things that conflicted people like Glenn will latch on to. The reality is, the stroke itself might be a natural cause, but that says nothing about what induced the stroke. We would have to know a lot more about Sicknicks medical history to understand what make him susceptible to a stroke. Perhaps existing arterial disease that, under massive stress, could easily end up creating a clot that went to his brain. There is a lot we dont know, and while it is possible that his stroke timing was coincidental (in the same way it might be coincidental that J&J vaccine people with clots are having coincidental timing) we can’t say for sure what happened.

      But for you Freddy, to come in here with that rubbish, shows which team you are on, and that you are simply a troll that serves little purpose here. I doubt with such an ignominious start that you will last hear long. But do amuse us, if you must.

      • Leoghann says:

        Brain stem strokes are much, much more frequently caused by aneurysms, rather than clots. Considering the events of the day, including the fact that they were a surprise to the Capitol police, I would expect that the average blood pressure of all of those who had to engage with the insurrectionists would have been in the 180/100 to 250/160 range. And many of those guys were well into middle age. Some sort of capsaicin sensitivity could have caused clotting, but I haven’t found much information on that.

    • Rugger9 says:

      Assault and battery is still there, and FWIW it could still be a stressor for the clot moving. I do not know the relevant law here about DC’s standards for how much the contribution could be used for liability.

      However, attacking a CP officer still carries some significant penalties, so GG is wrong to assume the perps will be exonerated.

    • emptywheel says:

      As I noted yesterday, Glenn lied YESTERDAY about what the original NYT story said. Outright lied. When I pointed it out, he attacked me. The reason his lies were so toxic is bc he told them to hide that the original NYT story got most things right, EXCEPT the fire extinguisher (but the fire extinguisher was understandable given how often those were used in attacks on cops).

      And I said he was in a bubble bc he claimed — also falsely but this might be bc he likes to speak about topics he knows fuckall about — that the rioters had killed no one. They did kill another rioter, in part bc the cops who tried to help her were being beaten by a pack of rioters.

      So maybe go back into your little Glenn bubble and suck down his deliberate lies some more?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Or go back to nakedcapitalism, where many readers, astonishingly, still think that Greenwald, Taibbi, and Mate walk on water.

        • Geoff says:

          I had sort of forgotten about NC. She should have stuck to finance. Once that veered into Russian territory, it became an utter trainwreck. At first I didn’t even realize it was happening, then drip by drip, I thought, wow, that comment (and that comment, and that comment) sure seem to be a bit off from the usual. And then the drip became a tidalwave of Trump supporting nutcases and I just bolted.

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