DOJ Claims Ryan Samsel Wants to Move Back to Where He Was Brutally Assaulted

In a filing submitted Thursday, the government disclosed something remarkable. January 6 defendant Ryan Samsel, who was brutally assaulted in the DC jail — allegedly by guards — said in September he wanted to be moved back to the DC jail.

On or around September 28, defense counsel sent a request to USMS that Samsel be transferred back to the D.C. Jail instead of Northern Neck, indicating that he wanted to go back there and was comfortable doing so.

The disclosure comes in response to a series of filings alleging additional mistreatment from Samsel’s latest attorneys, Stanley Woodward, who is a legit defense attorney, and Julia Haller, one of the attorneys sanctioned for making bogus claims of vote fraud in Michigan.

Samsel’s various claims of abuse

In Samsel’s first filing, submitted on September 11, his attorneys claimed that he was still not receiving all the required care for injuries suffered in the March 21 assault in DC jail or pre-existing conditions exacerbated by the assault.

A status report submitted on September 20 in response to an order from Judge Tim Kelly claimed that on September 15, as Samsel was being moved from a common area back to his cell, he was “dropped,” causing redness on his cheek.

Late that evening, officers came to Mr. Samsel’s cell to move him back to solitary confinement. According to records provided by the U.S. Marshals Service (“USMS”), Mr. Samsel reported that he was “dropped while being removed” from his cell. The medical records further provide that after receiving medical attention in solitary confinement, Mr. Samsel had “mild redness on the left side of his face at the cheek bone area.”

Samsel’s filing also suggests that the records from the March 21 assault in the DC jail might be incomplete.

A government status report submitted the same day noted that, “a review of the medical records are not entirely consistent with that Status Report or the Defendant’s assertions” (and provided several examples). It further noted that Samsel was seeking, “materials that are plainly not medical records, such as ‘incident reports’, administrative records, photographs, and video recording from inside the facility (none of which are compiled or authored by medical personnel).” It then noted that abuse in jail, “is appropriately brought in a civil proceeding and not through the criminal process.” (Note, that is legally true but factually, usually useless, but it gives prosecutors a way to move questions about conditions of confinement out of a criminal docket to one under a different judge.)

But Samsel’s attorneys didn’t file a civil suit. Instead, they kept filing motions.

Another filing, submitted on October 4, ostensibly an update on the status of medical reports which did indeed claim that defense attorneys haven’t received all Samsel’s medical records yet, also described that after the prior incident, Samsel was held in solitary confinement to coerce him to admit he did not get a concussion after allegedly being dropped.

Following his return to the Central Virginia Regional Jail from Novant Health UVA, Mr. Samsel was placed in solitary confinement without any recreational time, where the lights in his cell remained on for twenty-four (24) hours a day, and where he remained under constant video surveillance. According to Mr. Samsel, his solitary confinement was to continue until he recanted his statement that he suffered a concussion.


Mr. Samsel remained in solitary confinement until September 29, 2021, when he was transferred to the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia. His transfer occurred following a visit by the State police, and numerous requests for updates on Mr. Samsel’s status (e.g., why he remained in solitary confinement) as well as follow up requests for Mr. Samsel’s medical records.

A third filing, submitted on October 14, again ostensibly an update on whether defense attorneys had received Samsel’s medical records, started with this conspiracy theory about Alan Feuer’s story describing that, in early interviews with the FBI, Samsel described that Joe Biggs pushed him to initiate the riot by, “flash[ing] a gun, question[ing Samsel’s] manhood and repeat[ing] his demand [that Samsel] move upfront and challenge the police.”

On Thursday, October 7, 2021, The New York Times published an article describing how Mr. Samsel has refused to cooperate with the government following his initial questioning upon arrest by the FBI more than eight (8) months ago (and without the presence counsel). See Alan Feuer, Dispute Over Claim that Proud Boys Leader Urged Attack at Capitol, The New York Times (Oct. 7, 2021). 1 Despite “[t]he government hav[ing] not yet secured Mr. Samsel’s cooperation in its investigation,” however, the article’s publication prompted the government to request Mr. Samsel be placed in protective custody, or solitary confinement.

The timing of the article’s publication, just three (3) days after Mr. Samsel last complained of his failure to receive necessary medical treatment and/or related medical records is itself noteworthy. That what happened next is purely coincidental, strains credulity.


[O]n Tuesday, October 12, 2021, Mr. Samsel was permitted an unrecorded video conference with counsel, in which he was clearly handcuffed. What counsel discussed is, of course, subject to the attorney-client privilege. However, immediately following that video conference, Mr. Samsel was involved in an altercation with correctional officers which ultimately resulted in his again having to be transported to urgent care.

The NNRJ incident report provided by the U.S. Marshal’s Service provides: The above named inmate was finished with his attorney visit. I then advised him, I was going to place the hand cuffs back behind his back. Upon removing one side of the hand cuffs, he then stated he was not going to put the cuffs behind his back. I then gave him three direct orders to turn around, for the cuffs to be placed back on. All direct orders were refused. He then tried to pull the hand cuffs away. The necessary force was used to gain compliance. He then refused to stand up and walk back to E pod. The necessary force was used to gain compliance and escort him back to E124. Upon reaching his cell he became combative and the necessary force was used to gain compliance. The cell door was shut and the hand cuffs were removed. He was seen by EMT F [emphasis Samel’s]

That’s the background to the government’s filing, in which they reveal (among other things) that after experiencing incidents at almost every jail he has entered, Samsel has decided he wants to be in the DC jail, the jail where he was unquestionably beaten by someone (allegedly the guards), but also the jail that Royce Lamberth has just held in contempt for not adequately attending to the medical care of someone — Christopher Worrell — suffering from a non-Hodgkins lymphoma outbreak and pain from breaking his hand in a fall. Samsel’s request to return to DC jail preceded Lamberth’s contempt finding, but not Worrell’s allegations — first raised by the attorney Worrell then shared with Ryan Samsel, John Pierce — of delayed care.

The government’s slew of new details

The entire government memo is worth reading. It provides new details of Samsel’s role in January 6, including texts where he bragged about leading the entire mob forward when he kicked off the riot.

It reviews Samsel’s long history of beating others, especially women.

It describes how — at a moment when (the NYT suggests) Samsel might otherwise be sharing details with the FBI that would connect his own actions leading the mob forward to directions from Joe Biggs — the assault in the DC jail set off six months of volatility in Samsel’s representation that had the effect of delaying his medical care and seemingly changing his own defense strategy.

Following his arrest, Samsel was transported to the DC jail on February 17, 2021. He retained attorney Elisabeth Pasqualini to represent him.


During the week of Samsel’s transfer [to Rappahannock jail], a second attorney reached out to the Government, indicating that Samsel had fired Ms. Pasqualini and that they now represented Samsel. This attorney, David Metcalf, was sponsored by local counsel Robert Jenkins. Jenkins filed a motion to replace Ms. Pasqualini on March 31. (R. 12). In the meantime, Ms. Pasqualini informed the Government that she believed she still represented Samsel and had not heard otherwise from him. On April 1 and April 2, a U.S. Magistrate Judge held status hearings to determine the status of Samsel’s representations. Samsel indicated that he wanted both Ms. Pasqualini and Mr. Metcalf to represent him.

A few weeks later, the attorneys informed the Government that Samsel likely only wished to continue with Ms. Pasqualini. After an additional two weeks and two additional status conferences (May 14 and May 18), Samsel confirmed that he wanted to proceed only with Ms. Pasqualini. Mr. Metcalf withdrew on May 18. (R. 22)


Subsequent to the Court’s Order, on June 14, attorney John Pierce sent an email to the Court and stated in that email and subsequent to it that Samsel had not authorized Ms. Pasqualini to file the motion requesting a transfer [to custody of the State of Pennsylvania], that Samsel did not want a transfer, and that he wanted the Order vacated and for Samsel to remain in federal custody. The Court forwarded the correspondence and held an assessment of counsel hearing on June 21 and June 25 to determine whether Samsel truly wanted to switch attorneys again (R. 29); see also (Tr. June 24 at 4-5).

At the June 25, 2021 hearing, Ms. Pasqualini withdrew from the case.


In August, Samsel requested new counsel, and, on August 16, John Pierce withdrew from the case, and Stanley Woodward and Juli Haller entered appearances.

The filing describes that claims Samsel had made about having doctors in Pennsylvania didn’t match what the Marshal’s Service was able to learn.

Samsel indicated that he had specific doctors in Pennsylvania (a Dr. Liebman and a doctor at Penn) that he had been seeing for a glossectomy and his thoracic condition. (July 1 Tr. at 4). He requested a transfer to FDC in Philadelphia.


They made contact with office staff at Dr. Liebman’s office. Mr. Samsel was being seen by Dr. Liebman, a plastic surgeon, for concerns unrelated to thoracic outlet syndrome. There is no specialty care needed that is urgent nor specific to this particular providers abilities.

Conversation with Penn Medicine indicated there was no record of the prisoner being seen by vascular surgery. There is record of primary care visits only. Unless more specific provider information is available, it is not possible to receive direct feedback regarding transfer of care. [emphasis original]

On top of that medical discrepancy, the government filing predictably described that the jails where, Samsel alleges, he was mistreated, offered different versions of each incident than Samsel.

Samsel’s account consistently differs from the account of the facilities where he is housed;


Again, Samsel and the facility gave differing accounts of why he was transported and what the diagnosis was.


The facility did not have the same account of what occurred. However, both accounts consistently reported that Samsel sustained some kind of injury.

Sadly, jails aren’t necessarily any more credible than recently-sanctioned fraud lawyers. But that’s why it’s particularly interesting that the description of the September 15 “dropping” incident offered by legit defense attorney Woodward differs from the description offered by the recently-sanctioned Haller (though the government doesn’t say how those accounts differ).

One day later, the Government and USMS received emails from both defense counsel in which both suggested Samsel had been assaulted by staff at CVRJ, although with differing versions of the event. The Government immediately followed up with USMS, who followed up with the facility. The facility’s account of what occurred differed from either of the two accounts provided by defense counsel, and the facility denied that any assault took place. The consistent theme between all accounts, however, appeared to be that there were injuries9 and that the injuries were sustained while Samsel was being transferred from one cell to another. Similarly, the facility and defense attorneys differed on their account of the types of injuries sustained and the extent of them.

9 The facility report noted “mild redness on the left side of [Samsel’s] face and cheek bone area.” [my emphasis]

All these discrepancies are why it’s useful that, in addition to the known FBI investigation of the March 21 assault (which prosecutors remain walled off from), and whatever followed from the Virginia State Police visit described by Samsel’s attorneys following the “dropping” incident, the FBI is also investigating the October 12 incident.

That [March 21] incident was referred for investigation to the FBI (and it remains under investigation),4

4 The prosecutors in this case have been purposefully walled off in large part from that investigation.


1 The Government has referred the latter of these incidents for investigation after confirming with defense counsel that Samsel is alleging an assault occurred at Northern Neck.

The Government has referred this incident to the FBI for investigation.

The government filing also submitted a sealed addendum addressing the allegations in the NYT story.

On the second issue relating to the article, there is absolutely no basis in fact for these speculations. It makes no difference to the Government whether Samsel wishes to meet or not and his violent actions at the Capitol and his prior history of assaultive and obstructive behavior speaks for itself. The other speculations are discussed and responded to in the attached sealed addendum. See Govt. Ex. 1, Addendum, Filed Under Seal.

This may have the unintended effect of alerting Judge Kelly, who is presiding over the Joe Biggs case, of details regarding allegations Samsel made to the FBI about Biggs.

Again, when it involves jails, especially with defendants accused of injuring cops, you sadly can’t rule out that the jails are at fault. But in its filing, the government lays out all their efforts, during the entire period Samsel kept delaying care by replacing his attorneys and (in one case) refusing treatment for seizures, to find some way to keep him safe in jail.

Judge Kelly has scheduled a hearing to sort through all this — with the attendance of a representative from the Marshals and Samsel’s current jail (wherever that is) — for Thursday, almost two weeks before the hearing he otherwise had scheduled.

About the only thing that seems clear, right now, is that Samsel should not be returned to the DC Jail.

48 replies
  1. Savage Librarian says:

    “About the only thing that seems clear, right now, is that Samsel should not be returned to the DC Jail.”

    Yep, in a nutshell.

    • Salt of the Earth says:

      It seems Samuel was involved with un-arrested, no longer a person of interest, Ray Epps, who is on record as instigating the crowd. How deeply was the FBI involved in January 6?

    • Charles Wolf says:

      “… Samsel should not be returned to the DC Jail.”
      Unless someone wants to avoid the expense of a trial.

  2. CD54 says:

    I agree with not accepting any representation from a jail facility at face value.

    But Ryan Samsel seems like these MAGA Cult-types are stuck in a delusional loop where anything they say on MAGAt social media is accepted without question and that this extends to anything they represent to the Court.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh I think he’s more manipulative than that.

      And I also think he may (have been) under a great deal of pressure not to reveal the whole game, revealing how deliberate the attack was.

      • Rugger9 says:

        It would seem to me that this ploy wipes out any chance he would have to prevail in any litigation on his prior claim. You had noted that instead of filing a complaint against the jail our “hero” kept filing delaying motions but that option to go after the jail was still there as a “parting gift” until now.

        • emptywheel says:

          Nah. If the Guards assaulted him they’re looking at prosecution and he’s looking at a sweet lawsuit.

          Unless of course someone can show it was done to keep him quiet.

        • bmaz says:

          Not sure how successful a Bivens or FTCA claim would ever be. Guards will never be prosecuted if said detainee is still alive. And probably not even if dead.

    • Leoghann says:

      I was recovering from a minor surgical procedure on my back when Marcy and a couple of others tweeted links to Woodward’s filing for Samsel and the government’s response. Since I could barely get out of my chair for a couple of days, I read the filings from start to finish. They, and various other media nuggets about Samsel over the past nine months, paint a pretty clear picture of him. Marcy was just scratching the surface when she called him manipulative. His behavior is typical of a man with Borderline Personality Disorder. Having worked with prisoners both in and out of custody, I can tell you that his is the kind of personality that is a nightmare for other inmates, correctional workers, counseling staff, and attorneys. On the surface, it appears that his angle is like that of O. Henry’s Red Chief–making all his captors so miserable that they set him free just to stop the torment. But, as we can see from Samsel’s record, he continues to torment everyone around him when he’s not in jail. No matter where he is, he wants to be elsewhere. No matter who represents him, he wants someone else. He claims medical problems, but refuses to stay with any provider long enough to allow for any continuity of care. His constant changes of direction cause him, and anyone who tries to be of service to him, endless delay, and make it impossible to achieve any goal (and besides, he changes his mind about goals a few times a day). He is the picture of self-sabotage. Borderline people rarely tell the unvarnished truth–if they do make an accurate statement, it’s only in the service of their current manipulative attempts, and they will probably contradict it soon, and often. They exist in a constant state of noisy victimhood. And there’s one other Borderline characteristic that’s pertinent to our public view of Samsel. Borderlines find it very difficult to deal with their emotions; that leads many of them to be described by themselves and others as “dead inside.” They tend to self-harm. In teenagers, that’s often expressed through cutting behaviors. With adult women, there tend to be frequent incidents with kitchen cutlery, hot irons, and even suicide attempts. Men tend to make public references and attempts at suicide, but they also create situations where they can be harmed by others, and pass the blame. I’ve seen any number of correctional inmates who purposely created situations where they were injured and claim assault, such as putting heads and hands in the paths of electrical doors, lifting feet up while being half-carried down halls and stairways, and even head-banging in cells. It seems like Ryan Samsel is being injured wherever he goes, but he may well bear the responsibility for that, whether by direct cause or instigation.

    • Leoghann says:

      It’s hard to pass information when you’re constantly in solitary or protective custody. And it would take a complete moron to trust Samsel with a secret.

      • Zeke says:

        “And it would take a complete moron to trust Samsel with a secret.”

        Recent history suggests that there is no shortage of those, and I can confirm from my own experience that the vast majority of inmates are not there on scholarship.

        [Welcome to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Zeke.” Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • Leoghann says:

          Oh, they’re there on scholarship, all right. The scholarship just had unusual standards and qualifications. And, as with any scholarship, some recipients were more deserving than others.

  3. skua says:

    It would be easier, and maybe a good career move, to convince others of your loyalty when you’re in the same jail as them, as opposed to being elsewhere talking with who knows who.

    • skua says:

      You want a nation (most of the time) of laws?
      Things might seem bad now – easy street compared to a lawless country where the dick with the biggest militia carries the day till a dick with a bigger militia turns up and all the time the populace are just there to be exploited, or removed if they’re even mildly inconvenient. Want a poor neighbour killed off? US$10 will do it. You got a business? It’ll cost your competitor more to have you killed depending on how big your business is.
      You’re benefitting from lawfulness in so very many ways. You’ll really regret losing it if it goes.

    • bmaz says:

      Eh, let’s not encourage holding anybody at Gitmo, much less American citizens. That is not cool, even if that was a joke, of which I see no indication.

      Seriously, from what viewpoint do people keep suggesting this? You cannot try common citizens in a military tribunal (we should not even be dealing with foreign terrorists in the ludicrous military tribunal system, but certainly cannot US citizens). So, then what? Are you going to put a black bag over their head and individually fly them back and forth to a legitimate federal court? Really?

      • Charles Wolf says:

        “…Are you going to put a black bag over their head and individually fly them back and forth …”
        Well, if we did exactly that to Iraqis who had nothing whatsoever to do with what that invasion/war was about, then why can’t we do it to honest-to-baddness real home grown terrorists?
        I know, I know,,, We’re the good guys. We just don’t do that sort of thing.
        At least not in public. Arghh.

        • skua says:

          Ask a lawyer if you must but AIU it shouldn’t be done cause that is against the frickin’ law.
          You wanting MORE lawlessness?

    • P J Evans says:

      Gitmo exists because many in Congress didn’t think our (generally competent) courts could handle cases of terrorism. (What they meant was that the accused might not be convicted.) It also means that illegal actions there can be pretended to be “not in our country”.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Mostly grandstanding GQP types (then known as Teabaggers) were behind GTMO. W’s WH (i.e. Darth Cheney) somehow convinced a federal court that Guantanamo was not under US jurisdiction even though its naval base had been the price for our liberating the Cubans from Spanish rule.

        It was a remarkable outcome considering that all other US overseas possessions (and the Canal Zone, where John McCain was born) was and is considered to be sovereign US territory where the US Constitution applied, maybe it is because it is a base but we do have a long-term lease. USN and USCG ships carry that legal construct as well, which is why there are the occasional asylum attempts. FWIW, we grant refuge but asylum requires the Secretary of State to decide that part of the question. FWIW, I would suspect that GTMO’s base commander would be perfectly fine if the prison camp were closed since he’s got enough of a problem dealing with the Cuban government.

    • Eureka says:

      YES I saw it — and missed this here, just replied on the other page. So happy for him/Cards. The dry heat will do him and Julie well.

      [He also got a Hurts-to-Ertz on his exit, so he has some distinction for first back-to-back TDs with different teams.]

    • skua says:

      Here is somebackground on sentient beings who run faster.

  4. Rugger9 says:

    OT, but Rolling Stone dropped some bombshells today about planning for the J6 Sedition. Let’s get those witnesses into the committee as quickly as possible. It will not be politically feasible (GQP’s gonna stick together) to expel the ones named (and we weren’t really surprised) but hopefully some indictments could be coming. Or, would it be possible for AZ to yank Gosar’s dentist license (IIRC that was his day job there)?

    Also OT: MSNBC (both Digby and LGM carried it) did a report on Facebook algorithms using sockpuppets that followed the most likely FB responses. “Ugly” is a good starting point and with other FB buzz flying around it’s clear that Mark Z has some more ‘splaining to do and perhaps the Select Committee is where it will happen if the planning is linked to FB in some way…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As for Mike Pence trying so hard to find a way to do what Trump asked – when a normal VP would have said No at the outset – I don’t think the issue is Pence looking for a legal way to do it. I think it more likely he was counting supporters to determine whether their coup would succeed.

      Not wanting to be on the losing side was Pence’s more likely priority. Decided that sufficient support wasn’t there is probably when he decided there was no legal way to do what Trump demanded. This time. But they’re still trying, and preparing for the next time. 2022 will be a trial run for 2024.

      Press coverage is too focused on the White House and on January 5-6. It should broaden its focus to the Trump campaign and not limit themselves to events during Trump’s maladministration. For gosh sakes, the Willard is a five minute walk down the road, and has plenty of phone and data lines.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Pence’s strategy as you describe accurately is also something of a loser, recalling how Pence caved on the “religious freedom” [… to flagrantly discriminate] law when the NCAA threatened to yank the Final Four from Indianapolis while Pence was Governor. It was telling at the time that such a deeply conservative politician didn’t even run for re-election in dark red IN because he knew he would lose.

        I also agree that the full planning process including the MI state house dry runs should also be dug into. That is why the Rolling Stone article, the Epik Fail breach (so much fun to write that) and the various court filings documented by EW show the places to look.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Pence is too conservative even for Indiana voters. More importantly for many of them, he’s too fucking incompetent.

        • Rugger9 says:

          Indeed, and that makes me wonder how someone who pays as much attention as Pence does to internal polling thinks he has a prayer of getting the nomination especially if DJT runs again. We’re not talking Alf Landon here in terms of unbridled optimism.

        • Savage Librarian says:

          Maybe we can suss Pence by how he places his bets(y) on this:

          “Betsy DeVos Says GOP Isn’t ‘Dependent’ on One Person, Doesn’t Name Trump” – 9/26/21, John Dorman

          “In February 2017, after a contentious confirmation process, DeVos was confirmed by the Senate in a 51-50 vote, with then-Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie, as GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined every Democrat in opposing the nomination.”

        • MB says:

          “Betsy DeVos Says GOP Isn’t ‘Dependent’ on One Person, Doesn’t Name Trump”

          I can’t help but think these days of analogizing Trump and Trumpism to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Trump being the Apprentice (almost literally), wherein, as the tale goes, he frantically uses his misunderstood magic powers to create multiple brooms and pails to urgently clean up the mess he originally created. And now all those multiple brooms and pails (aka all the mini-Trumps now running around freely) are on the loose frantically covering their apprentice-boss’ ass.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Old China hands would recognize DeVos’s rhetoric, because they’ve learned never to fully believe something until it’s officially denied.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Pence’s only game is figuring out which side of the (white) bread his butter is on. He’s been the Holy Owned pet of the alliance between Dominionist theocrats and Big Dark Money for decades, and does what they bid (including joining the Trump ticket in 2016). I’m guessing he now regrets listening to Dan Quayle (a cousin on my mother’s side–my grandmother was so proud of him while we were enjoined to keep the kinship secret), who was never truly a fellow traveler. Pence is clearly being told that God’s Plan does indeed still involve the orange balloon, and he is dutifully scrambling to get back aloft.

  5. Jenny says:

    Pictures/Visuals/Audio Tell the Story.

    Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol | Visual Investigations
    As part of a six-month investigation, The Times synchronized and mapped thousands of videos and police audio of the U.S. Capitol riot to provide the most complete picture to date of what happened — and why.

    • bmaz says:

      Right. The government “has” to say that, or the case is toast long before trial. It does not mean, however, that Baker is going to, or willing, to testify as they hope. The Yahoo article says and means nothing. That Baker got listed as a potential witness is of no consequence.

      • Silly but True says:

        If Baker maintains his Congressional testimony, Durham’s case is toast in any case. So why press forward?

        If Sussman lied to Baker and Baker understands Sussmann lied to him — and Durham alleges at least one lie of deception (Indictment 27A), and one lie of omission (Indictment 27C) — then Baker could still be interested in holding Sussman accountable for that even if Baker is not onboard with Durham’s 27-page emergent proto-conspiracy case.

        I can’t imagine Baker is in any agreement with any of Durham’s conspiracy allegations, but Baker could in hindsight now understand Sussman may have conducted their meetings badly.

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