“HOLD. THE. LINE!!!” DOJ’s Late Research into Brandon Straka’s Grift

It’s difficult to tell what really went down with the Brandon Straka plea.

That’s because — as laid out here — the government seems to have realized that Straka had been less than forthright in interviews, in which he was deemed cooperative last year, that got him a sweet plea deal. In their sentencing memo, the government seems to be at pains to argue that Straka’s cooperation was worth minimizing his overt incitement of the obstruction attempts.

Straka, meanwhile, is desperate to dismiss claims he “snitched” out others. So it’s unclear what to make of the claim — in a memo signed by Bilal Essayli, a California politician who only just filed his notice of appearance in the case — that the government was pressuring Straka to implicate Trump directly.

During the interviews the government was focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between defendant, President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president, to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6. Defendant answered all questions truthfully and denied the existence of any such plot. In August 2021, the FBI arrived at the same conclusion and found no evidence that violence was centrally coordinated by any individual or group.2 Despite these findings, the government persists with a false narrative that defendant’s actions were premeditated and orchestrated in concert with the greater mob that stormed the Capitol. The Court should reject this improper attempt to expand the scope of the appropriate sentencing factors, and consider only defendant’s relevant conduct with respect to the charged offense: misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

2 See Mark Hosenball, Exclusive: FBI finds scant evidence U.S. Capitol attack was coordinated – sources, Reuters, August 20, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-fbi-finds-scant-evidence-us-capitol-attack-wascoordinated-sources-2021-08-20/

In an attempt to disclaim any organized conspiracy, Essayli cites the problematic Reuters article based on former officials who would have been in charge during the period when Straka’s initial interviews were deemed cooperative, but whose knowledge by August 2021 would have been out of date and whose claims would be utterly irrelevant to what DOJ understood by December, when Straka’s sentencing took a weird turn.

Even crazier, the Straka sentencing memo reveals that, on December 10 (so two days after Straka revealed new information that roiled the sentencing), his team shared a sentencing position with DOJ asking not just for no jail time, but to have the entire case dismissed.

Defendant feels compelled to respond on the record to the government’s sentencing memorandum, which was filed one week prior to the sentencing hearing. The government had the benefit of reading and considering defendant’s sentencing position, which was timely filed on December 10, 2021, when drafting its position. The government missed this deadline and informed defendant the following day that it was seeking to continue the sentencing hearing. The government sought a stipulation to continue, which defendant agreed to join, based on the government’s representation that it would consider a request from defendant to dismiss this case. The government informed defendant on January 13, 2022, that his request was denied and proceeded to file its sentencing position containing highly inflammatory characterizations of defendant. [my emphasis]

Since December, it seems Straka has given up that plan, because his attorneys now argue for “a modest non-custodial sentence.”

That said, much of the rest of the memo focuses on making a First Amendment argument claiming that Straka’s earlier posts (it is silent about his January 5 speech) don’t amount to incitement.

The first and second tweet sent in early December 2020 were a pair of strongly worded messages opposing the transition to President Biden without an audit of contested election results. Gov. Figure A and B. Defendant states, “If we don’t get a thorough audit we must not allow a transfer.” The references in the tweet to a “civil war” was not a call to violence, as the government suggests, it was a figure of speech referencing a political struggle. The government concedes that defendant’s “messages contain rhetorical flourishes that are common in political speech,” but then suggests, without evidence, that defendant’s statements could “have been interpreted by some readers as a call for more than just a figurative struggle.” ECF 36, p. 5. The government does not cite one example of defendant’s tweets influencing a single person to engage in criminal conduct.

Similarly, Gov. Figure C contains a tweet from December 19, 2020, with a call to “rise up” (figuratively) and be recognized by the government. The full statement reads, “Our government no longer listens & takes instructions from the People. They’ve decided to become dictators to the People. It’s time to rise up!” This is precisely the category of speech the First Amendment protects. It is not incitement, and barely registers above heated political rhetoric. See generally Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15, 24–26 (1971). It was also not imminent—being issued almost a month prior to January 6. See Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 448 (1969) (First Amendment prohibits punishment of advocacy except when it incites imminent unlawful action).

The government’s sentencing memorandum is devoid of any mention of the First Amendment, let alone any analysis of whether defendant’s statements meet the Brandenburg standard required for punishing speech. The government may only punish protest-related speech that includes a direct “call to violence” or advocacy that is “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” See Brandenburg, 395 U.S. at 447; Noto v. U.S., 367 U.S. 290, 297–300 (1961). At the same time, the Supreme Court has consistently protected the statement of an idea that “may prompt its hearers to take unlawful action. . . .” Noto, 367 U.S. at 297 (quoting Dennis v. U.S., 341 U.S. 494, 545 (1951) (Frankfurter, J., concurring)). Indeed, even a protestor screaming, “We’ll take the f***ing street again” amidst an agitated crowd resisting police authority could not be punished for his speech. Hess v. Indiana, 414 U.S. 105, 107 (1973). The government fails to distinguish this important constitutional divide and, by so doing, seeks to penalize protected advocacy.

None of defendant’s statements meet the test for a “call to violence” as the government suggests. They lack any specific call to violence (hypothetically, “People, find a police officer and bash his head in!” or “Attack Senator John Doe now!”). They are not particular in that they do not ask protestors to take unambiguous actions or engage in detailed criminal acts. They are not imminent—the quoted material occurred a month before the January 6 event. And whatever the government believes defendant communicated to his supporters remains an inkblot in a constitutional Rorschach test. The speech that the government finds objectionable remains protected advocacy, and should not be considered for purposes of sentencing.

There are four attorneys who have filed notices of appearance for Straka. Not a single one has dealt with a prior January 6 defendant. So they may genuinely not know that DOJ has routinely turned to a defendant’s earlier speech to get not to incitement (militia defendants are an exception), but to motive.

And many of the other explanations Straka offers for his inflammatory language on January 6 don’t make sense (and has already been admitted at sentencing for dozens of other defendants). Straka’s team suggests that his incitement — as he was watching and cheering rioters strip a cop of a riot shield — couldn’t have encouraged the violence he was watching because his “social media posts were similarly written before defendant saw television footage of the west side of the Capitol,” as if there weren’t tons of things to alert him to the danger (even assuming he didn’t know of the collaboration between his associates and the organized militias) without seeing the West side.

Straka’s team seems to have gone from thinking they could get this entire case dismissed to being really worried about incitement that, through their good lawyering and possibly a lack of candor, hasn’t been charged against Straka.

Which brings me to a final detail of this exchange made visible by the timeline laid out in Straka’s filing.

As laid out below, after Straka’s presentence report came in, DOJ swapped prosecutors, April Russo for Brittany Reed (who wrote the sentencing memo). That presentence report, which is one of two things that changed DOJ’s response to sentencing, is referred to at least nine times in the government sentencing memo, though not at all in Straka’s.

The presentence report, for example, is what the government cites for Straka’s self-serving concern about how the prosecution affected his grifting.

During a presentence interview with U.S. Probation, the defendant expressed remorse for his actions. During his interview, the defendant stated that “if he could go back in time, he would never have gone to Washington D.C.” Straka described his conduct on January 6 as “one of the stupidest and tragic decisions of his life.” Straka lamented about how this incident has impacted his life and his business. He also informed U.S. Probation that he “feels the consequences for his actions have been quite extreme and disproportionate given his involvement in the offense is a misdemeanor.”


Yet, it is worth pointing out that Straka believes that “the consequences for his actions this far have been quite extreme and disproportionate given his involvement.” Straka also believes that he is misunderstood. He has also expressed concern about how his business has been affected. ECF 28 ¶¶ 23-25. These statements indicate that Straka does not understand the gravamen of his conduct and that of the rioters on January 6.

The presentence report is also, alarmingly, the only place DOJ cites to explain Straka’s unique grift or that he flew to DC for the insurrection directly from doing similar incitement in Georgia.

It was in this context that Straka traveled to Washington D.C. on January 4, 2021, from where he had been working on the special election in Atlanta, Georgia to attend several “Stop the Steal” events where he would be a featured speaker. See ECF 28 at ¶ 17.

His role in the TCF mob in Michigan is not mentioned at all.

After that presentence report, the swapping of prosecutors, and the new information Straka provided on December 8, Straka’s team told DOJ they were going to ask to have the prosecution dismissed. That’s when the government told Straka they wanted a delay. Straka’s description of the timing of this is not entirely consistent with what shows in the docket (for example Judge Friedrich, with no public explanation, extended the deadline for the sentencing memo to December 15 on December 8, the day Straka provided new information), but there also seem to be several sealed entries. And while Straka claims DOJ told them they wanted a delay on December 11, the motion to continue describing the new information on December 8 and the presentence report is formally filed on December 17.

On December 8, 2021, the defendant provided counsel for the government with information that may impact the government’s sentencing recommendation. Additionally, the government is requesting additional time to investigate information provided in the Final PreSentence Report. Because the government’s sentencing recommendation may be impacted based on the newly discovered information, the government and defendant request a 30-day continuance of this case so that the information can be properly evaluated.

That makes what DOJ spent December 16 doing all the more interesting.

DOJ describes accessing the following materials on December 16, the day before they asked for a continuance:

The government cites the latter article — and not communications obtained directly by the FBI — to explain how Straka learned that his speech would be “delayed.”

At 2:33 pm on January 6, 2021, Michael Coudrey, the national coordinator for Stop the Steal, sent a message to a group chat telling those in the chat that the event that Straka was scheduled to speak at would be delayed because “They stormed the capital[sic].” Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien, New Details Suggest Sernior Trump Aides Knew Jan. 6 Rally Could Get Chaotic, ProPublica (June 25, 2021) available at https://www.propublica.org/article/new-details-suggest-senior-trump-aides-knew-jan-6-rally-could-get-chaotic (last visited December 16, 2021). Straka responded, “I just got gassed! Never felt so fucking alive in my life!!!” Id.

The government didn’t cite Straka’s November text messages (cited directly in the article) expressing disgust with close Ali Alexander ally Nick Fuentes.

Nor do they describe that Ali Alexander was on the group chat via which Straka learned his event would be delayed, or that shortly after Straka reveled in getting tear gassed, Alexander instructed everyone on the list to “get out of there” because “the FBI is coming hunting.”

“They stormed the capital,” wrote Stop the Steal national coordinator Michael Coudrey in a text message at 2:33 p.m. “Our event is on delay.”

“I’m at the Capitol and just joined the breach!!!” texted Straka, who months earlier had raised concerns about allying with white nationalists. “I just got gassed! Never felt so fucking alive in my life!!!”

Alexander and Coudrey advised the group to leave.

“Everyone get out of there,” Alexander wrote. “The FBI is coming hunting.”

Both the fact that Straka remained on organizing lists with Alexander months after he expressed distaste for Fuentes’ homophobia and that Alexander warned that the FBI were on their way change the import of everything else Straka did. Of particular note, it would dramatically change the connotation of Straka calling, from the safety of some distance from the crime scene, on others to “HOLD. THE. LINE!!!!”

And if DOJ really didn’t understand Straka’s grift until this point, that would suggest they made a plea deal without understanding that Straka was closely tied to those it is now investigating for coordinating with the militias who attacked the Capitol.

Brandon Straka claims he was asked, but denied, that there was, “an organized conspiracy between defendant, President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president, to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6.” But it appears that one thing leading to the month-long delay in his sentencing was newfound understanding both of Straka’s grift, but also of his close ties to those who coordinated with organized militias to end up precisely where Straka did: inciting violence from the top of the East steps of the Capitol.

Given that, his worries about whether his language counts as incitement seem misplaced. While he is legally in the clear for anything pertaining to January 6 (unless he lied to FBI), he should be more worried about inclusion in charges tied to the conspiracy he claims he denied.

Update: This language, from the Jan 6 Committee subpoena letter to Nick Fuentes, is of interest for the way it overlaps with Straka’s trajectory.

On November 14, 2020, you rallied with America First/Groyper followers at the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C., urging your followers to “storm every state capitol until January 20, 2021, until President Trump is inaugurated for four more years.”5 You were also a prominent figure at “Stop the Steal” rallies in Atlanta, Georgia, on and around November 19, 2020,6 alongside featured speakers such as Alex Jones and Ali Alexander inside and outside the State Capitol, 7 where you discussed potential actions including showing up outside the homes of politicians. 8 On December 12, 2020, you spoke to a crowd of supporters at the “Stop the Steal” events in Washington, D.C., calling for the destruction of the Republican Party for failing to overturn the election.9


January 11, 2021: Tip on Straka’s post to Twitter

January 13, 2021: Interview with Straka relative

By January 13, 2021: Straka removes January 5 video from Twitter; last view date for December 19, 2020 video cited in sentencing memo but not arrest affidavit

January 20, 2021: Straka charged by complaint

January 25, 2021: Straka arrest

February 17, 2021: First FBI interview

February 18, 2021: First continuance

March 25, 2021: Second FBI interview

June 3, 2021: Second continuance

July 2, 2021: Protective order

August 25, 2021: Third continuance

August 31, 2021: Date of plea offer

September 14, 2021: Deadline to accept plea

September 15, 2021: Straka charged by information

September 30, 2021: Stuart Dornan files notice of appearance for Straka

October 5, 2021: Updated information

October 6, 2021: Change of plea hearing (plea agreement; statement of offense); sentencing scheduled for December 17, with initial memo due December 10 and response due by December 15

Between October 7 and November 19, 2021: Pretrial services interview (sealed docket #28)

November 19, 2021: Brittany Reed substitutes for April Russo

December 8, 2021: Sentencing reset for December 22; sentencing memo due by December 15; Straka “provide[s] counsel for the government with information that may impact the government’s sentencing recommendation”

December 10, 2021: Straka shares sentencing position (possibly filed under seal)

December 11, 2021: Government tells defendants it seeks to continue, tells Straka it will consider request to dismiss case

December 16, 2021: Last view date for 2018 Straka video, Walkaway Foundation website, WalkAway Campaign PAC website, WalkAway Campaign YouTube Channel; ProPublica article on Michael Courdrey message (and attempts to distance Alex Jones and Ali Alexander)

December 17, 2021: Motion to continue (presented as joint) 30 days

By December 23, 2021: Sealed motion attempting to seal publicly filed motion to continue, denied by Judge Friedrich

January 5, 2022: Third FBI interview, this time including prosecutors (plural)

January 13, 2022: Government sentencing memo (sealed addendum at docket #37); government denies Straka request to dismiss case

January 14, 2022: Bilal Essayli files notice of appearance for Straka

38 replies
  1. Rugger9 says:

    Would it be possible to ascertain whether the DoJ / FBI staff were RW burrowers? It might be a way to explain the extraordinary leniency which also would (I think, IANAL) preclude any more exposure to J6 activities. I would also expect that if Straka did lie to the investigators it would be a de novo charge not subject to a plea deal.

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      “Would it be possible to ascertain whether the DoJ / FBI staff were RW burrowers?”

      I’ve been wondering about this from time to time since Biden was sworn in. We know that he had four years to install people who were more or less his minions throughout the executive branch, and four years is long enough to install his minions even into civil service jobs. Every time I see a Trump-era holdover making a good call, I’m gratified, and that even extends to the judges Trump installed when they are upholding the rule of law, instead of the rule of one man.

      But I still wonder about moles in the Executive branch.

  2. matt fischer says:

    Nit: “The June 25, 2021 ProPublica article about the panic among some Trump flunkies about Alex Jones bad [and] Ali Alexander’s role in January 6 events”

  3. Tom R. says:

    Here’s a scenario. I don’t know that all of this is true, but it’s a hypothesis to consider:
    1. Straka did a whole lot of naughty things.
    2. He didn’t level level with his attorneys about this, which might explain some of the turnover.
    3. The plea agreement says he won’t be prosecuted for the conduct set forth in the plea agreement
    … which isn’t much.
    4. If the feds didn’t realize from Day One that he was a zealous reich-winger, or if they didn’t
    care, that reflects quite poorly on them.
    5. The feds say they have “new evidence”. Presumably some from Straka and some from elsewhere.
    6. Evidently the feds are not happy about this. Ramifications include:
    + Within the structure of the plea deal, he could get a harsher sentence.
    + On top of the guilty plea, he could catch other charges, not covered by the statement of
    offense. This could include lying to the FBI as well as offenses more directly related to
    the coup.
    + If he has breached the agreement, he could get prosecuted for everything, including
    currently-uncharged crimes he has already admitted to in the statement of offense. This
    includes felonies. This includes at the very least aiding and abetting bloody violence.
    Probably also conspiracy to obstruct.
    + Maybe they are negotiating a new plea agreement, with a much fuller statement of offense.
    Maybe pleading to a felony. Maybe including a cooperation provision. Or maybe not. Having
    deceived the feds once, his value as a witness is severely degraded.
    7. Maybe he thought that concealing stuff from the feds was clever. OTOH maybe it was too clever by

  4. Savage Librarian says:

    Here are some excerpts from an article written 5 months before the ProPublica article:

    “MAGA influencer Brandon Straka arrested in connection with Capitol assault” – Dan Avery, Jan. 26, 2021
    “Straka, a former hairdresser and aspiring actor, became a right-wing social media star in 2018, when he launched a YouTube video explaining why he decided to “walk away” from the Democratic Party, using #WalkAway as the tagline for his incipient movement.”
    “The video, which was watched millions of times, earned Straka follows on Twitter from Sarah Palin and Donald Trump Jr., as well as a $10,000 donation from Alex Jones of Infowars and an invitation to appear on Fox News’ “Ingraham Angle.” The Alliance for Securing Democracy, which tracks Russian interference in U.S. elections, alleges that #WalkAway’s success was
    the result of Russian bots.”


    • Vicks says:

      I know it’s already been pointed out that so many of these aspiring actors landing roles as right-wing activists may be more than a coincidence, but when I start thinking about an aspiring actor, Jan 6 AND Russian bots I wonder if the questions could get even more complicated?
      Nathan Degrave who received superseding indictments also had (its gone now but there are screenshots) a profile on the “Explore Talent” website.

  5. WilliamOckham says:

    I don’t think I understand anything about the Straka situation. And he seems like a fairly key character in the whole thing. The one thing I’m pretty sure of is that the FBI could definitely get him for making false statements in one of his interviews. And I mean the normal type of “false statements”, not the Durham type of “false statement”.

    I say this because, after reading some statements he’s made, I suspect he’s the type of person who can’t tell the same story twice. (This is a real problem with the way the FBI operates, not the bogus perjury trap claptrap that the right spews these days.)

  6. dwfreeman says:

    Reporting in that June 25 ProPublica story likely explains why the House Select Committee is now seeking phone records from Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric Trump, according to CNN.

    “Alexander and Jones wanted to speak at the Ellipse rally, but (Amy) Kremer ( a GOP operative who had helped found the tea party movement) was opposed. The provocateurs found a powerful ally in Caroline Wren, an elite Republican fundraiser with connections to the Trump family, particularly Donald Trump Jr. and his partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle. Wren had raised money for the Ellipse rally and pushed to get Alexander and Jones on stage, according to six people involved in the Jan. 6 rally and emails reviewed by ProPublica.

    (Katrina) Pierson, a Trump campaign official, had initially been asked by Wren to help mediate the conflict. But Pierson shared Kremer’s concern that Jones and Alexander were too unpredictable. Pierson and Wren declined to comment.

    “On Jan. 2, the fighting became so intense that Pierson asked senior White House officials how she should handle the situation, according to a person familiar with White House communications. The officials agreed that Alexander and Jones should not be on the stage and told Pierson to take charge of the event.”

    Jones had reportedly pledged $51,000 for a prime speaking slot at the Jan. 6 rally and said he was asked by Trump himself and Alexander to help lead the Capitol march that Trump belatedly planned on or about Jan. 3.
    The rationale was that if they met confrontation with Antifa or Black Lives Matter counterprotestors, on their way to the Capitol, their followers could serve as the tip of the spear defenders.

    But even so, an unanticipated march now created a crowd control issue regardless of any threat of street confrontation among rival protestors. Because there would now be more folks flowing to the Capitol from Pennsylvania Avenue and the National Mall than there were Metropolitan Police with backup assigned for traffic control.

    Whether true or not, Alexander’s Stop the Steal group, was the only Jan. 6 permit holder for an approved Capitol grounds rally. And it was openly sought under a falsely identified sponsoring organization, One Nation Under God.

    ProPublica reported that “Capitol Police expected a handful of rallies on Capitol grounds, the largest of which would be hosted by a group called One Nation Under God.

    Law enforcement anticipated between 50 and 500 people at the gathering, assigning it the lowest possible threat score and predicting a 1% to 5% chance of arrests. The police gave much higher threat scores to two small anti-Trump demonstrations planned elsewhere in the city.

    However, One Nation Under God was a fake name used to trick the Capitol Police into giving Stop the Steal a permit, according to Stop the Steal organizer Kimberly Fletcher. Fletcher is president of Moms for America, a grassroots organization founded to combat “radical feminism.”

    “Everybody was using different names because they didn’t want us to be there,” Fletcher said, adding that Alexander and his allies experimented with a variety of aliases to secure permits for the east front of the Capitol. Laughing, Fletcher recalled how the police repeatedly called her “trying to find out who was who.”

    On the night of Jan. 5, at some point, Alexander claims he spoke with Guilfoyle directly who insisted Trump was in fighter mode. That would suggest that perhaps the call came after Trump sent a message to his Willard Hotel lieutenants falsely disclaiming Mike Pence decision about doing his Electoral College duty the next day. Here is a report from Media Matters that documents a Brietbart News interview of Alexander by Steve Bannon on or about Jan. 5, which confirms the Guilfoyle phone call. https://www.mediamatters.org/media/3923971.

    Guilfoyle also boasted of playing a larger role in rally planning and fundraising than previously known or reported. https://ctmirror.org/2021/11/20/texts-show-kimberly-guilfoyle-bragged-about-raising-millions-for-rally-that-fueled-capitol-riot/.

    • Rayne says:

      Dude. Did you not get my last reply about overlong comments? This one clocks in at 636. Please, cut back closer to internet-friendly 100-300 words.

  7. Ryan says:

    Worth noting that Essayli has been doing J6 work for quite a while. This LA Times story shows he was the attorney for Alan Hostetter, the former police chief of the mid-sized California city of La Habra, as of mid-June, and that he is a former federal prosecutor.:

    Hostetter later dropped Essayli and tried to represent himself saying he could no longer afford an attorney. Essayli was an intern in the White House Counsel’s office in 2008, and appointed AUSA in 2014. And an alternate delegate to the RNC in 2020. I wonder exactly how he came to Straka’s case.

    • emptywheel says:

      Essayli never filed a notice of appearance for Hostetter. Hostetter was represented by someone else when he want pro se.

      That said, both Hostetter and Straka were Jan 5 speakers.

      • Ryan says:

        I hadn’t noticed mention in the Essayli/Hostetter articles that Hostetter spoke on J5. That does seem to help explain things.

        Unrelated question, about James Tate Grant, yesterday’s DUI/rifle/bail revocation guy. Is he believed to be simply a random extremist who happened to arrive early at the police barricades, or is he connected to anyone or any groups? I couldn’t find any suggestion of a connection in articles about him, other than that he was charged with Ryan Samsel, not even whether he knew Samsel.

        • Leoghann says:

          I took the time read up on him, as much as searchable articles would allow. My impression is that he arrived in DC as a freelancer. He clearly has oppositional-defiant disorder, which leads people to defy even the mildest sort of authority, often in an extreme manner.

          In some of their posts and comments, local Proud Boy leadership refers to a few prospective members who were just too crazy to bother with. I think Grant would fit that profile to a tee.

  8. obsessed says:

    Off-topic: So the J6 committee gets all the National Archives stuff for which Biden waived privilege. (1) How big a deal do you think this is? (2) Would there be anything that DOJ wouldn’t have known?

    • Rugger9 says:

      (1) Very big deal indeed otherwise Individual-1 wouldn’t have fought as hard as he did to keep it secret. Plenty of potential trouble for Gosar, Brooks, Jordan, Hawley, Cruz, et al as well as out-of-office GQP types. Lots of communications and coordination involved. I’ve noted elsewhere that this could be an existential threat to the GQP and only Thomas rose to defend the indefensible. Too bad he doesn’t explain why in his dissent.
      (2) Perhaps not very many of the specific acts, but the linkages and comms would potentially surprise DoJ.

  9. klynn says:

    I. Raiklin sounds like he’ll speak to the J6 committee only if he can stage a coup live on tv beforehand.

    • P J Evans says:

      He certainly has an interesting set of demands, including use of the Emergency Alert System, which isn’t intended for this kind of thing.

        • P J Evans says:

          text (his spelling and punctuation):
          I would be to volunteer as well, as long as:

          1. Pence, Pelosi are present,
          2. I have access to audio/visual equipment
          3. given at a minimum an entire week topresent my evidence and responses.
          4. afforded a budget to call in approximately 100-200 subwitnesses to be as responsive as possible to the Unconstitutional committee.
          5. given the ability to detain and submit a criminal referral to a State of my choosing when a member of the committee purgers themself or defames me
          6. live broadcast on C-Span
          7. Prime time multicast on all network stations
          8. Ideally broadcast on the EAS across all radio, Tv, internet distribution channels.

  10. Ryan says:

    Is this a new type of prosecution, in which the initial impetus for investigation was a record of a mobile phone inside the capital grounds?:

    The article suggests there was no tip-off nor video suggesting a particular reason to investigate these guys. The Tribune version reads:
    >A criminal complaint filed Wednesday included photos of the three men allegedly standing amid the mob outside the Capitol and later entering through a door, filing past a man in a gas mask and bicycle helmet. Another photo shows the defendants walking single-file through the Capitol rotunda. No other details of their actions that day were alleged in the charges.

    I’m fine with unlawful entry being charged regardless of other actions, but I wonder if there’s some other reason these three were interesting to prosecutors.

    Minor googling showed me that one of the three arrested once worked for someone I knew at the time. In a fairly large organization, so I’m not suggesting they knew each other. It’s just the first time I’ve identified my degree of separation from one of those involved, and I’m taken aback by it.

    • Leoghann says:

      Marcy has been noting almost from the beginning that a good number of arrests of these (apparently) low-level participants has been to get at their phones or cameras.

  11. pdaly says:

    This is also OT: I am still intrigued by emptywheel’s update to a recent thread mentioning that “Person 10” i.e., Michael Simmons drove Rhodes to DC 1/6/21 and parked their car (that has a trunk filled with what?) near the Jefferson Memorial. This is close to one of the proposed QRF rally points, the water landing site if bridges were closed.

    A Mother Jone’s article linked in that thread interviews Simmons who mentions that he also goes by the name of Michael Greene, but he refuses to explain why.

    For whatever it is worth, Simmons’ 302s from the May 2021 FBI interviews (linked in this article) suggest by the redaction widths that Simmons was going by the name Greene at the time the FBI interviewed him and wrote up the 302s.

    The redaction widths for Person 10 don’t fit the name SIMMONS, but they do fit Greene. As further proof, an unreacted apostrophe S ( ‘S) follows a Person 10 redaction in one of the sentences. It is possible this is “SIMMONS’S”, but the redacted width is too short to fit SIMMONS, and later in the 302, the writers use an S apostrophe when typing out “MEGGS’ wife.” If punctuation rules are standardized throughout the 302 then the [Person 10]’S is GREENE’S.

    At some later point the DOJ uses Simmons as opposed to Greene. What’s up with the name change?

    Another tidbit. Maybe this has been covered before.
    When the FBI asks Simmons/Greene about calls to JAMES around 2:30pm 1/6/21, Simmons/Greene states he does not know where the two golf carts came from but he knows that James had used them to drop (redacted) off at ‘HER hotel.’ ??


    • pdaly says:

      Or am I getting ahead of myself, and the DOJ has only continued to refer to Simmons as ‘operational leader’ and/or Person 10?

        • pdaly says:

          I suppose that is possible, but I assume the FBI has the ability to do a background check and confirm a person’s legal name before sitting down to interview them.

          Although his name has been unmasked in the press (as Simmons/Greene), I don’t know that the DOJ has stopped using Person 10 or “operational leader.” If and when the DoJ does start using his name, I wonder whether they will similarly use Greene (and not Simmons)?

  12. earlofhuntingon says:

    Funny that it’s always the democracy-destroying Republican Vandals who want to play Roman general Maximus and, “Hold the line!” The penchant goes back to a Karl Rove voter suppression minion, and sometime congresscritter, US Attorney, and Lt. Governor from Arkansas, Timothy Griffin, who wanted his even younger and less qualified acolytes to, “Unleash Hell,” but only on Democrats. Griffin is a stellar example of a Kash Patel-like figure, who relentlessly fails upward.

  13. harpie says:

    o/t Just want to say that the J6 COMMITTEE Letter to IVANKA is a WHOPPING 11 pages long!

    https://january6th.house.gov/news/press-releases/select-committee-seeks-information-ivanka-trump Jan 20, 2022

    […] Given Ms. Trump’s presence in the White House on January 6th, the Select Committee is seeking her knowledge about the former President’s actions related to the deployment of the National Guard to respond to the violence. […]

    • harpie says:

      [Emphasis in original.] [Any typos belong to me…]

      […] We write to request your voluntary cooperation with our investigation on a range of critical topics, including the four specific matters outlines below. We respect your privacy, and our questions will be limited to issues relating to January 6th, the activities that contributed to or influenced events on January 6th, and your role in the White House during that period.

      [pdf1/11] First, the Select Committee is investigating efforts by President Trump to impede the count of certified electoral votes by Congress on January 6, 2021.

      [pdf3/11] Second, the Committee is investigating President Trump’s response to the attack on the Capitol on January 6th.

      [pdf7/11] Third, the Select Committee is evaluating whether the President did or did not give any order to deploy the National Guard to respond to the violence on January 6th.

      [pdf7/11] Finally, the Select Committee is investigating the former President’s activities and conduct in the days after January 6th, including President Trump’s state of mind during that period and whether the President took appropriate action regarding the continuing threats of violence.

      [pdf9/11] Enclosures. [Don MCGAHN’s 2/22/2017 memo to all personnel about “Presidential Records Act Obligations”.]

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