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Darrell Youngers, Christopher Warnagiris, and Jason Dolan: Marines at the East Door

Among the many January 6 insurrectionists whose arrests became public yesterday were George Tenney, from Anderson, SC, and Darrell Youngers, who lives in Cleveland, TX. Tenney is involved with a right wing website, The PowerHouse Patriot. It’s not clear what Youngers does for a living, but according to a witness who IDed him, he has been involved with leadership courses. Ostensibly, they were charged via the same epic 30-page arrest affidavit because they traveled through the Capitol together on the day of the insurrection. They appear to have met that day.

In the weeks leading up to the insurrection, Tenney tried to figure out how to join an armed militia group.

Even prior to the January 6 riot, TENNEY discussed “armed militia patriots” and stated that “we” may siege the U.S. Capitol Building. On December 14, 2020, TENNEY wrote to Person1, “Where and how do I get involved or a part of one of these patriot revolution groups? Like proud boys, or any of the other American Patriot militias??” Person-1 responded that Person-1 would “ask around.”

By December 28, Tenney appeared to know that there was a plan to siege the Capitol.

On December 27, 2020, TENNEY wrote, “I heard over 500k armed militia patriots will be in DC by the 4th. And will start early waiting for the rest of us on the 6th. They already predict over [a] million people will be in DC the 6th.” The next day, he wrote, “We need to talk about the trip to D.C…It’s starting to look like we may siege the capital building and congress if the electoral votes don’t go right….we are forming plans for every scenario.” On December 29, TENNEY wrote a message that included the following: “I’ve been watching these pod cast things from this guy. He says Pence is a traitor and will betray the US on the 6th.”

Even before they entered the Capitol, Tenney and Youngers were moving together.

They entered the Senate Wing door at 2:19PM — the door first breached by former Marine Dominic Pezzola. The camera catches Youngers’ Marines jacket shortly after the two enter.

They went from there through the Rotunda into the East Foyer, with Tenney in the lead. Which means he was the first to get to the East Door to open it, letting the assembled rioters outside in as Youngers looks on.

Youngers, who’s involved in leadership training, lets Tenney do the hard work of wrestling with a cop and getting charged with civil disorder. They retreat for a bit, but then return to pushing cops again just as Marine Major Christopher Warnargiris is among the first to enter, as if he was just waiting for the door to open (I believe Youngers is standing to the right of the door).

Here’s Youngers and Warnargiris at that East door, standing within a few feet of each other, as both help to ensure rioters will succeed in keeping this door open.

Just outside that door, of course, is former Marine and Oath Keeper Jason Dolan, also standing at the top of the stairs as if he knew the door was going to open, waiting for a Stack of militia members to help force the door open.

This is believed to be a picture Kenneth Harrelson took of Dolan filming just after the doors opened.

At a time Dolan probably suspected he might be arrested, the government suspects, he went on Gateway Pundit to claim that he and everyone else couldn’t have been trespassing, because the magnetic doors couldn’t have opened unless someone unlocked it.

As part of this story, the anonymous source believed to be Dolan claimed that the Marine who opened the doors first went inside and then opened the doors from the inside.

Retired Marine: We’re on the top level now – about 15 feet from the doors just before they opened up. People are yelling and screaming. Everyone’s cheering, all kind of stuff. It’s chaotic. But we’re just kind of there. And then all of the sudden the doors open up from the inside. I have a picture taken about two seconds before the doors opened. And then I have a picture taken about six seconds later and the doors were open.

Jim Hoft: And they were not opened from the outside?

Retired Marine: They were opened from the inside. Now one of the stories I read recently was that some Marine, some Marine Major, went inside and managed to run around and open up the doors. And I think that was on your website, as well. But here’s what I can tell you about magnetic locks. If a door is locked by a mag lock it cannot be opened from the outside or the inside unless the person controlling that door opens that door by turning off the magnetic lock which those doors according to the photos I took are equipped with. [my emphasis]

The story doesn’t make sense if Dolan was talking about Warnargiris. But the government accuses Youngers, also a former Marine, of being one of the people who entered the West side only to go within minutes to the East side to open a second front.

That’s a lot of Marines who seemed to know that door was going to open.

The Hundred-Plus January 6 Defendants Accused of Assault

Yesterday, Merrick Garland marked two milestones in the January 6 investigation: 500 arrests, of which 100 were for assaulting police.

The Department of Justice reached several benchmarks in our investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

We have now crossed the threshold of 500 arrests, including the 100th arrest of a defendant on charges of assaulting a federal law enforcement officer. This morning, we arrested our first defendant on charges that include assaulting a member of the news media.

I could not be more proud of the extraordinary effort by investigators and prosecutors to hold accountable those who engaged in criminal acts that day. Particular credit goes to those serving as prosecutors and agents in Washington, D.C., as well as those in FBI field offices and U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country, and with the Department’s National Security Division.

Our efforts to bring criminal charges are not possible without the continued assistance of the American public. To date, we have received their more than 200,000 digital tips.

I assure the American people that the Department of Justice will continue to follow the facts in this case and charge what the evidence supports to hold all January 6th perpetrators accountable.

I’ve been tracking the charged assaults (and a few related crimes). Here’s my list, which includes several people who really resisted arrest (but got charged under 18 USC 111). Note this list also tracks how the FBI identified the defendant, which shows that FBI has been relying on “Be On the Lookout” photos to identify assailants. As of right now, all these defendants have pled NOT guilty and are assumed innocent. [fixed typo]

As you read this list, keep in mind that FBI has released 410 BOLOs, most for assault, and well over 200 of those people remain at large. And of course, the FBI has not yet apprehended the pipe bomber.

  1. Daniel Page Adams, whose arrest affidavit describes engaging in a “direct struggle with [unnamed] law enforcement officers” (his cousin, Cody Connell, described the exchange as a “civil war”). Tip SM
  2. Zachary Alam, who pushed cops around as he was trying to break into the Speaker’s Lobby. BOLO 79
  3. Michael Alberts, who was arrested for gun possession the day of the riot but who had an assault charge added in a superseding indictment
  4. Wilmar Alvarado, who pushed cops in the mob trying to get in from the West Terrace. BOLO 65
  5. John Anderson, who after taking two riot shields from cops, needed their assistance after getting maced.
  6. Thomas Ballard, who used a police baton and threw a table in the Lower West Terrace. BOLO 325
  7. Logan Barnhart, who pulled one of the cops out of the Capitol.
  8. Craig Bingert, who allegedly helped shove cops with a barricade. BOLO 105
  9. Brian Glenn Bingham, who scuffled with two cops after Ashli Babbitt got shot. BOLO 93
  10. David Blair, who poked a cop with a lacrosse stick with a Confederate flag attached. Onsite arrest
  11. Michael Brock, who hit two cops with a four-foot rod. BOLO 319
  12. Nicholas James Brockhoff, who sprayed a fire extinguisher from the Terrace at cops. BOLO 255
  13. Benjamin Burlew, who participated in a 6-person assault on an AP journalist.
  14. Jamie Buteau, whom surveillance video showed throwing chairs at cops several times in the Capitol. (BOLO 188)
  15. Alan Byerly, who allegedly beat up a cop and then beat up an AP cameraman. BOLO 193
  16. Daniel Caldwell, who was filmed macing 15 cops. SM
  17. Steven Cappuccio, who pulled Daniel Hodge’s gas mask and beat him with his own baton. BOLO 123
  18. Matthew Caspel, who was filmed charging the National Guard. Tip SM
  19. William Chrestman, who is accused of threatening a cop as Proud Boys pushed their way past the original line of defense (charged with 18 USC 115). NM
  20. Reed Christensen, who was videotaped swinging at cops. BOLO and video 191
  21. Luke Coffee, who was videotaped beating several cops with a crutch. Tip SM and BOLO 108
  22. Cody Connell, who with his cousin was in a direct confrontation with cops. Tip SM
  23. Lance Copeland, who admitted to fighting with cops on the barricades.
  24. Matthew Council, who was arresting for shoving cops the day of the riot.
  25. Kevin Creek, who was filmed hitting and kicking officers on the West Terrace. BOLO 296
  26. Bruno Cua, who was filmed shoving a cop to be able to get into the Senate. Tip LE
  27. Matthew DaSilva, who fought over shields with cops in the Lower West Terrace. BOLO 230
  28. James Davis, the Proud Boy with a big stick who charged some cops.
  29. Nathan DeGrave, whom security cameras caught threatening to fight cops. Network Sandlin
  30. David Dempsey, a Proud Boy with a history of assaulting anti-Trump protestors who used a crutch to assault police in the Tunnel. Sedition Hunters
  31. Josh Doolin, who is part of Johnny Pollack’s cell that assaulted multiple cops. Network Pollack
  32. Daniel Egdvedt, a large man who took swipes and grabbed at several officers as they tried to remove him from the Capitol. BOLO 76
  33. Scott Fairlamb, who was caught in multiple videos shoving and punching officers (one who whom is identified but not named); Cori Bush has said she was threatened by him last summer. Tips, including SM
  34. Joseph Fischer, a cop who got in a tussle with another cop. Tip SM
  35. Kyle Fitzsimons, who charged officers guarding the doorway of the Capitol. BOLO 139
  36. Michael Foy, a former Marine who was caught on multiple videos beating multiple cops with a hockey stick. Tip SM
  37. Kevin Galetto, who allegedly knocked an MPD officer to the ground in the Tunnel. BOLO 146
  38. Robert Giswein, who appears to have ties to the Proud Boys and used a bat to beat cops. NM
  39. Vitali Gossjankowski, who was interviewed about whether he had tased MPD officer Michael Fanone, causing a heart attack; instead he was charged with assaulting CPD officer MM. BOLO 98 — with a second one mentioned
  40. Daniel Gray, who got into several confrontations with officers inside the Capitol, including knocking down a female cop. Tip SM
  41. Brian Gunderson, charged with assault while committing a felony on a superseding.
  42. Alex Harkrider, who after being filmed fighting with police at the door of the Capitol, posted a picture with a crowbar labeled, “weapon;” he was charged with abetting Ryan Nichols’ assault. Tip SM
  43. Richard Harris, who assaulted a journalist in Oregon weeks before threatening cops, Nancy Pelosi, and Mike Pence during the riot.
  44. Uliyahu Hayah, who was in the vicinity of Ashli Babbitt’s death and shoved a cop on his way out. NM
  45. Albuquerque Cosper Head, accused of assaulting Michael Fanone.
  46. Dillon Herrington, who threw a 4X4 at cops, then threw a barrier. Sedition Hunters picture
  47. Joseph Hutchison, who is part of Johnny Pollack’s group, but who was caught via his own BOLO. BOLO 320
  48. Emanuel Jackson, whom videos caught punching one officer, and others show beating multiple officers with a metal baseball bat. BOLO 31
  49. Shane Jenkins, alleged to have used a crowbar to break in a window, later threw things including a pole, a desk drawer, and a flagpole at cops.
  50. Douglas Jensen, the QAnon who chased Officer Goodman up the stairs, got charged with resisting him. NM, BOLO 10
  51. Taylor Johnatakis, charged with 111.
  52. Paul Johnson, who carried a bullhorn and was in the initial assault from the west side with Ryan Samsel. BOLO 49
  53. David Judd, who threw a firecracker at cops in the tunnel. Tip and BOLO 137
  54. Julian Elie Khater, who allegedly sprayed Brian Sicknick and two others with very powerful bear spray. BOLO 190
  55. Freddie Klein, the State Department employee who fought with three different officers while trying to break through police lines. BOLO 136
  56. Edward Jacob Lang, who identified himself in a screen cap of a violent mob attacking cops and who was filmed slamming a riot shield into police and later fighting them with a red baseball bat. Tip SM
  57. Nicholas Languerand, accused of throwing a bollard, a can of pepper spray, and a stick at cops in the Lower West Tunnel.
  58. Samuel Lazar, who was caught on video spraying chemicals and cops and claimed to be the tip of the spear.
  59. Mark Jefferson Leffingwell, whom a Capitol Police officer described in an affidavit punching him. Onsite arrest
  60. Joshua Lollar, who described fighting cops and was caught in pictures showing himself in the front lines confronting cops. Tip SM
  61. Michael Lopatic, who allegedly assaulted some cops with Stager and Sabol, then took a BWC to hide the assault. BOLO 133
  62. Clifford Mackrell, who attempted to strip an officer’s gas mask after someone else sprayed bear spray. BOLO 124
  63. Logan McAbee, who was part of a gang assault on a cop pulled out of the Capitol.
  64. Patrick Edward McCaughey III, who was filmed crushing MPD Officer Daniel Hodges in one of the doors to the Capitol. BOLO 62
  65. James McGrew, who shoved some cops in the Rotunda then bared his King James belly tattoo, Tip Network
  66. Sean McHugh, accused of spraying some yellow substance at cops and using a sign as a battering ram, BOLO 59
  67. Jeffrey McKellop, a former Special Forces guy accused of assaulting 4 cops, including one by using a flagpole as a spear. BOLO 215
  68. David Mehaffie, who directed the assaults in the Tunnel
  69. Jonathan Mellis, who used some kind of stick to try to jab and beat police. Tip SM
  70. Jalise Middleton
  71. Mark Middleton, the Middletons fought the cops outside the West entrance to the Capitol. BWC
  72. Garret Miller, who pushed back at cops and then threatened both AOC and the cop who killed Ashli Babbit. Tip LE
  73. Matthew Ryan Miller, who released fire extinguisher in close quarters. Tip SM
  74. Jordan Mink, who used a pole to assault the police.
  75. Brian Mock, who kicked a cop when he was down and bragged about it. BOLO and Tip SM
  76. Patrick Montgomery was charged with assault against MPD officer DJ in a follow-up indictment.
  77. Robert Morss, who in addition to tussling with a cop, was a key organizer of shield walls in the Tunnel. BOLO 147
  78. Aaron Mostofsky, possibly for stripping a cop of his or her armored vest and riot shield. NM
  79. Clayton Mullins, alleged to be part of the mob that assaulted AW and two other police. Tip
  80. Jonathan Munafo, alleged to have fought with cops in two different locations, including punching one in the Lower West Terrace. (BOLO and video 170)
  81. Ryan Nichols, who was filmed wielding a crowbar and yelling, “This is not a peaceful protest,” then spraying pepper spray against police trying to prevent entry to the Capitol. Tip SM
  82. Grady Owens, who allegedly hit a cop in the head on the Mall with a skateboard, as he was heading to reinforce the Capitol. BOLO 109
  83. Jason Owens, accused of assaulting a second officer after his son attacked one with a skateboard. Network Owens
  84. Jose Padilla, who shoved cops at a barricade, then helped use a Donald Trump sign as a battering ram against them. Tip SM
  85. Robert Palmer, who sprayed cops with a fire extinguisher then threw it at them.
  86. Michael Perkins, who is part of the Pollack group. Network Pollack
  87. Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boy who stole a shield from cops. NM and BOLO 43
  88. Johnny Pollack, who serially assaulted cops and then went on the lam. BOLO 144
  89. Olivia Pollack, Johnny’s sister who also allegedly punched a cop. Pollack network
  90. Mark Ponder, filmed repeatedly attacking cops with poles.
  91. Christopher Quaglin, accused of assaulting cops both at the initial breach of the barriers and later in the Lower West Terrace.
  92. Stephen Chase Randolph, who shoved cops at the initial barricade and later bragged about a female cop’s head bouncing off the pavement. BOLO 168
  93. Daniel Rodriguez, whom videos appear to show tasing Michael Fanone. Sedition Hunter-based reporting
  94. Edward Rodriguez, who sprayed pepper spray at cops while wearing a suit. Sedition Hunter-based reporting
  95. Greg Rubeacker, Tip SM
  96. Jeffrey Sabol, helped drag a cop from the Capitol and beat him while prone. LE arrest (erratic driving)
  97. Ryan Samsel, who set off the riot by giving a cop a concussion; he appears to have coordinated with Joe Biggs. BOLO 51 (though not IDed by BOLO)
  98. Salvador Sandoval, Jr, who went to the insurrection with his mother and shoved some cops.
  99. Robert Sanford, who was filmed hitting Capitol Police Officer William Young on the head with a fire extinguisher. Tip NM
  100. Ronald Sandlin, who tried to wrestle cops to keep the door to the Senate open. MPD tip
  101. Troy Sargent, who appears to have punched some cops holding a line. Tip SM
  102. Peter Schwartz, a felon who maced several cops. Tip NM (BOLO 120)
  103. Dan Scott, AKA Milkshake, who shoved some cops in the initial assault. Network.
  104. Christian Secor, a UCLA self-described fascist who helped shove through some cops to break into the Capitol and then sat in the Senate chamber. Tip NM
  105. DJ Shalvey. The details of the assault charged against Shalvey are not public, but he did get charged for lying about it to the FBI.
  106. Barton Wade Shively, who pushed and shoved some police trying to get into the Capitol, punched another, then struck one of those same cops later and kicked another. BOLO 55
  107. Thomas Sibick, accused of being among a group of men who attacked Michael Fanone and stole his badge.
  108. Geoffrey Sills, alleged to have used both a pole and a baton in several assaults on cops in the tunnel.
  109. Audrey Southard-Rumsey, the talented singer deemed one of the main agitators in the Statuary Hall Connector. Tip SM
  110. Peter Francis Stager, who was involved in beating a prone cop with a flagpole. Tip SM
  111. Ezekial Stecher, whom videos showed pushing in the Lower West Tunnel.
  112. Tristan Stevens, who fought cops with a shield and baton. Video
  113. Isaac Sturgeon, who is accused of using a barricade to attack some officers.
  114. Andrew Taake, who is accused to have used a metal whip and pepper spray against the cops. Tip SM
  115. George Pierre Tanios, who allegedly conspired with Julian Khater to attack Brian Sicknick and two other cops. BOLO 254
  116. Kenneth Joseph Owen Thomas, who organized a MAGA Caravan from AL and then selfied himself attacking cops. BOLO 214
  117. Christopher Warnagiris, the Marine Major who fought to keep the East door open. BOLO 241
  118. Thomas Webster, who attacked a cop with a flagpole. BOLO 145
  119. Wade Whitten, accused of dragging AW down the steps of the Capitol and hitting him with a crutch. BOLO 130
  120. Ricky Willden, who allegedly sprayed cops with a chemical.
  121. Duke Wilson, accused of assaulting several officers in the Lower West Tunnel. BOLO 87
  122. Jason Woods, who allegedly used the same tripping attack on a female cop and a cameraman. BOLO 238
  123. Christopher Worrell, a Proud Boy who apparently sprayed pepper spray at a line of police.
  124. Kyle Young, accused of attacking Michael Fanone and another officer, and stealing Fanone’s weapon.

The Gateway Pundit’s East Capitol Door Oath Keeper Conspiracy

In a motion arguing that accused Oath Keeper Jason Dolan should be held without bail, the government accuses Dolan of inventing an alternative story to explain how the East doors of the Capitol got opened on January 6.

Many of these detention motions aren’t all that convincing about the danger of the defendant; I find this one to be. The government shows the three gun cases that Dolan and fellow Floridian Kenneth Harrelson stashed at the Ballston Comfort Inn before the insurrection.

The government explains that Dolan spent a decade as a marksmanship instructor while serving as a Marine and that Dolan appears to have hidden at least two guns that his neighbor said he owned in advance of being arrested.

The motion describes that Dolan and Harrelson were “near” the Capitol on January 5, which the government suggests was, “likely to conduct surveillance for their operation the following day.”

It describes how, after busting into the Capitol, Dolan, Harrelson, and Kelly Meggs spent six minutes outside Nancy Pelosi’s office (note, I think the government misleadingly suggests this photo came from Harrelson or Meggs).

Hours later, Meggs talked about how “we” had looked for Pelosi.

The government also shows that the attorney that Dolan shares with the former President, Michael Van der Veen, was wrong when he claimed there was no ongoing contact between Dolan and the Oath Keepers; Dolan and Harrelson were in communication via Signal leading up to Harrelson’s arrest.

But that’s not the most interesting part of the detention motion.

The government argues that Dolan is the source for this Gateway Pundit story, which was set up with the involvement of the Oath Keeper’s PR attorney, Kellye Sorelle (and so would constitute another recent contact with the Oath Keepers to prove Van der Veen wrong). They point to this video seized from Harrelson’s phone, showing the person in front of him, whom other pictures identify as Dolan, taking a picture of the just-opened East door.

That’s almost exactly the picture that shows up in the Gateway Pundit article.

(Note, Gateway Pundit cropped that image, I didn’t.)

That makes the intent of the Gateway Pundit story more interesting. It claims that the existing explanation for how the East doors got opened is that a Marine Major “went inside and managed to run around and open up the doors.”

Retired Marine: We’re on the top level now – about 15 feet from the doors just before they opened up. People are yelling and screaming. Everyone’s cheering, all kind of stuff. It’s chaotic. But we’re just kind of there. And then all of the sudden the doors open up from the inside. I have a picture taken about two seconds before the doors opened. And then I have a picture taken about six seconds later and the doors were open.

Jim Hoft: And they were not opened from the outside?

Retired Marine: They were opened from the inside. Now one of the stories I read recently was that some Marine, some Marine Major, went inside and managed to run around and open up the doors. And I think that was on your website, as well. But here’s what I can tell you about magnetic locks. If a door is locked by a mag lock it cannot be opened from the outside or the inside unless the person controlling that door opens that door by turning off the magnetic lock which those doors according to the photos I took are equipped with. [my emphasis]

The point of the story is to argue — based on the source’s experience working at US Embassies overseas, which Dolan did — that it would be impossible to open doors secured by magnetic locks. That’s not true: for safety reasons it has to be possible to open such doors from the inside, which is what the government claims did happen.

It’s how Dolan inserts Marine Major Christopher Warnagiris into the story, claiming that Warnagiris opened the doors from the inside, that I find particularly interesting.

That’s not what he is alleged to have done though. Warnagiris is alleged to be the first person in the East door, as if he knew — standing there on the Capitol steps fifteen feet in front of where Dolan was standing at the same time — that they would be opened.

Then Warnagiris prevented the cops from closing the doors once they had been opened, all the while helping others (which would hypothetically include the Stack that Dolan entered with) get in.

Without the tie to Warnagiris, this story would seem like nothing more than a ham-handed attempt to claim that the Stack could not have “broken” in, because to open the magnetic doors, someone would have had to have let them in. Maybe that’s all it is.

But the story serves as much to obscure what fellow Marine Warnagiris did as what Dolan and the rest of the stack did. Given that both Marines seemed to know those doors would open, I find that an interesting story to tell.

In [Legal] Defense of the Nazi

The biggest known investigative fuck-up in the January 6 investigation thus far was when the FBI raided the home of Marilyn and Paul Hueper believing that Marilyn was a woman that the FBI suspects, based off surveillance video, may have been part of stealing Nancy Pelosi’s laptop. The Hueper’s claims about their actions on January 6 don’t seem to be entirely forthright, but Marilyn has made a solid case that the FBI mistook her for the woman in question.

I think the FBI did have probable cause for that search, but I also think the FBI did not use available tools — most notably the Google and GeoFence warrants they’ve used in many other cases — that should have been able to exclude Marilyn as the suspect.

I think it likely that DOJ has made an error, of another sort, with Nazi sympathizer Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, detaining him for four months based off a mistaken belief he played a more important role in January 6 violence than he did.

Hale-Cusanelli was arrested on January 15, three days after a co-worker of his, who was already an NCIS informant, alerted the FBI that Hale-Cusanelli took part in the riots and had, in the past, espoused fairly extreme white supremacist views. On January 14, the informant recorded Hale-Cusanelli describing giving hand signals to the mob and taking a flag that Hale-Cusanelli described as a “murder weapon” to destroy.

Hale-Cusanelli’s arrest warrant, which charged him with the misdemeanor trespassing charges everyone gets charged with along with a civil disorder charge, included no video from the day of the attack. When the government indicted him, they added obstruction charges and abetting.

When the FBI arrested Hale-Cusanelli, he admitted in an interview that he gave hand and voice signals — which could be no more than waving people forward — to encourage others to “advance” past cops. But the government’s primary basis to keep him jailed, when they first succeeded in doing so back in January, seems to have been that, once you cut him off from the military network he worked in as a Navy contractor, he was bound to turn to war.

Releasing Defendant from custody will only reinforce his belief that his cause is just. Given his impending debarment from Naval Weapons Station Earle, and his potential Administrative Separation from the U.S. Army Reserve, Defendant’s release will likely leave him with nowhere to go and nothing to do except pursue his fantasy of participating in a civil war. If nothing else, the events of January 6, 2021, have exposed the size and determination of right-wing fringe groups in the United States, and their willingness to place themselves and others in danger to further their political ideology. Releasing Defendant to rejoin their fold and plan their next attack poses a potentially catastrophic risk of danger to the community.

When they made a more substantive (and successful) argument he should remain detained, they focused on two things: his choice of a third party guardian was also an extremist who had helped him try to game reporting from the Navy on his extremism, and his extremism itself, including that he groomed to look like Hitler.

They also argued that Hale-Cusanelli poses a threat to the informant who IDed him.

Hale-Cusanelli is appealing his detention. But both he and his attorney, Jonathan Zucker, are getting fed up. Last week, Zucker submitted a motion asking to be replaced, but also claiming that he has received nothing in discovery about what Hale-Cusanelli did at the Capitol.

The parties were last before the court on May 12, 2021. At that time the defense expressed concern to the court regarding the paucity of discovery in this case. To date the prosecution has disclosed the defendant’s custodial interview, a surreptitiously recorded conversation between the defendant and a cooperating witness who was wearing a recording device provided by law enforcement, two portions of text messages between the defendant and two other civilians. The prosecution has provided nothing else, particularly no evidence regarding what defendant did on January 6 either outside or inside the Capitol. Nor any other evidence regarding the defendant’s activity in relation to the charged offenses. 1

1 Defendant advises that other defendants have disclosed to him that other defendants indicated they received discovery of recordings from inside the Capitol where defendant has been seen peacefully walking in the hallways.

Yesterday, the government responded. AUSA Kathryn Fifield claimed that most of what Zucker had said was not accurate.

The bulk of Defendant’s representations to the Court regarding discovery—both in terms of what they have received and government’s response to their requests—are not accurate. To date, the government has provided the most substantial portions of the government’s evidence. That includes the CHS recordings in which Defendant makes substantial admissions regarding his criminal conduct on January 6, Defendant’s custodial interview in which Defendant makes substantial admissions regarding his criminal conduct on January 6, and a partial extraction of Defendant’s cellular phone. The partial extraction includes the extraction report and the native files, including chats, videos, and photos. Defense counsel has confirmed with the undersigned that they have access to these materials on USAfx. Further, the government separately provided Capitol CCTV video capturing Defendant inside the Capitol building on January 6 and reports of interviews conducted by NCIS. Defense counsel confirmed receipt of these materials with prior government counsel. Thus, Defendant is already in possession of the evidence most relevant to detention proceedings and to Defendant’s conduct on January 6, and has been in receipt of these materials since before the last status hearing on May 12, 2021.

She described how, because of the technical issues that occur every time the government shares large volume electronic files with defense attorneys, Zucker still doesn’t have the full content of Hale-Cusanelli’s phone.

But the accompanying discovery summary in fact seems to confirm what Zucker has said: he has received no or next to no surveillance video of his client in the Capitol, and what he has gotten appears to pertain primarily to a different person he represents (Zucker also represents Jerod Wade Hughes and Thomas Webster, and did represent Dominic Pezzola for a period).

Video recording of custodial interview of Defendant Hale-Cusanelli produced via USAfx on February 22, 2021.

Bulk report of interviews conducted by NCIS produced via email on March 7, 2021.

Report of interview conducted by NCIS of Sergeant John Getz produced via email on March 8, 2021.

Partial extraction of Apple iPhone – includes Cellebrite Extraction Report (PDF 1209 pages) and native files most relevant to Defendant’s detention proceedings and conduct on January 6, 2021. Produced via USAfx on March 11, 2021.

Capitol Surveillance CCTV produced via USAfx in connection with another defendant represented by defense counsel on March 31, 2021. Upon information and belief, you confirmed receipt of this video with prior government counsel. Reproduced in the USAfx folder for this case on May 25, 2021. The Government has designated these files Highly Sensitive under the Protective Order issued in this case.

CHS video and audio recordings produced via USAfx on May 7, 2021. The Government has designated these files Sensitive under the Protective Order issued in this case. Cellebrite Extraction Report (PDF 63073 pgs): iPhone 6s (A1633), MSISDN 7328105132, ISMI 310120163205040. Produced via USAfx on May 7, 2021.

Full extraction of Defendant’s Apple iPhone produced on encrypted zip drive on or about April 28, 2021, on Blu Ray discs on or about April 28, 2021, and on defense counsel’s hard drive on or about May 25, 2021.

One of the main images in an earlier detention memo from inside the Capitol is indexed to Pezzola, so that may be the discovery in question.

This guy has absolutely loathsome views. But they are views protected by the First Amendment — and also views shared by a goodly percentage of the other January 6 defendants, many of them out on personal recognizance. The others who, like Hale-Cusanelli, were of particular concern to the government because they held clearance on January 6 also engaged in physical assault — and Freddie Klein was released even after that. As I noted, the government spent two months confirming details of active duty Marine, Major Christopher Warnagiris’ far more important conduct from the day before arresting him, and then let him out on personal recognizance.

While the government has provided evidence that he did intend to obstruct the vote count, nothing in his conduct from the day substantiates the civil disorder challenge. Yesterday, Fifield asked for two more months to find that evidence.

This seems like a mistake that the government is simply doubling down on. But if you haven’t found more compelling evidence after four months, what are the chances you will?

January 6: A Change of Pace

Although GWU’s tracker, which is still the best way to keep track of all the January 6 defendants (though this visual story from WaPo using their data is nifty) added four new January 6 defendants yesterday, the pace of new defendants has slowed considerably. While there are still some detention fights, several of those disputes (Proud Boys Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs, and disorganized conspirators Nate DeGrave and Ronnie Sandlin, as well as Neo-Nazi sympathizer Timothy Hale-Cusanelli — have moved to the DC Circuit.

We’re likely to have more bail revocation fights. The other day, for example, Landon Copeland — who made news for his meltdown during a magistrate judge’s hearing last week — was arrested for some still unidentified bail violation. The government has also moved to revoke Patrick Montgomery’s bail because he — a professional hunting guide — shot a mountain lion that he — a felon — cannot legally possess.

But there are a couple of developments this week that point to what’s going on with this investigation.

Delayed phone exploitation

In a hearing in the case against mother and son defendants Deborah and Salvador Sandoval, Deborah’s attorneys were anxious to move to trial based off an apparent misunderstanding that the evidence on her sole computer device, her smart phone, would show she barely entered the Capitol. Meanwhile, the government revealed that because Salvador chose not to share passwords to his multiple devices, those are taking a lot longer to exploit. As I’ve already noted, Ethan Nordean is the only Proud Boys leadership co-conspirator whose phone DOJ was able to exploit without cracking the password first (the FBI got the password from Nordean’s wife). Exploiting all these phones is going to take a lot of time.

In another case, there appear to be privileged communications on Eric Torrens’ phone, which will delay the exploitation of that for up to four weeks as a filter team reviews the content.

In other words, even before you consider any delay created by FBI’s need to respond to Signal’s Moxie Marlinspike’s exposure of vulnerabilities in Cellebrite’s code, it will take some time to process the vast volume of evidence the government has obtained since January 6.

The network analysis

The arrest of Brittiany Dillon gives a sense of another cause of delay.

Bryan Betancur was one of the first wave of January 6 defendants to be arrested, on January 17, after his parole officer alerted the FBI that he had lied about handing out Bibles to get permission to travel from Baltimore to DC that day. The government got a warrant for his phone on January 20. Once they got into his phone, they discovered text messages between Betancur and Dillon in which Dillon described falling in the door of the Capitol during the riot. The government found video of her — falling down as she entered — on surveillance videos by January 23. The government obtained phone and Google warrants to confirm that Dillon had been inside the Capitol the day of the riot. For some reason, the FBI only got around to interviewing Dillon’s father, ostensibly about Betancur, on April 21; the agent got Dillon’s father to confirm Dillon’s ID while they were talking.

This is similar to what happened with Patrick Montgomery, who like Betancur was arrested on January 17. Only after FBI exploited his phone and found some key pictures did they arrest a buddy he was with that day, Brady Knowlton, while pursuing two others.

These arrests of friends of early arrestees may reflect an FBI agent trying to get arrest numbers, but in a number of cases, they seem to reflect larger investigative strategies based on things investigators have found in the profiles of the original defendant. By my count there are about 18 cases of network arrests aside from the militia conspiracies, and about half of those look like they may be more interesting than friends getting scooped up together. I would expect to see more of this going forward.

Delayed arrests

The two month delay between the time DOJ identified active duty Marine, Major Christopher Warnagiris, as the person who played a key role in keeping the East door of the Capitol open after it was first breached on January 6 and when they arrested him on Wednesday is far more interesting.

As the arrest affidavit explains, FBI isolated Warnagiris as a suspect based on his conduct as shown in video, and then published a Be On the Lookout picture to figure out who he was. On March 16, a former co-worker IDed him, and on March 17, the FBI interviewed one of his current co-workers, who positively IDed Warnagiris.

And that’s it–that’s where the narrative in the affidavit, which was signed on Wednesday, ends. They get a BOLO-based tip on March 16, and get military witnesses to confirm his ID on March 17. And that’s all they’re telling us about who he is and what other evidence they have against him.

I’m sure that’s not all that has transpired since FBI discovered an active duty Major played a key role in keeping the East Capitol breach open.

All the while, someone who by dint of being an active duty service member has clearance, has (as far as we know) been going into Quantico every day for the almost two months since they IDed him. That’s … an interesting investigative decision.

Compare that narrative to the one told in the arrest affidavit of Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, the Army reservist and Nazi-sympathizer who worked as a contractor at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey. On January 12, an informant told the FBI that Hale-Cusanelli was at the riot, on January 14, the informant recorded a conversation in which Hale-Cusanelli admitted to pushing and shoving along with the rest of the mob. Hale-Cusanelli has been jailed since the very next day, January 15 (he is appealing his detention to the DC Circuit). Hale-Cusanelli has not been charged with assault and he is not known to have played such a key role in compromising the Capitol from a second side.

Now, for many defendants, I can see taking your time after the initial rush of arrests. After all, if they were going to delete their Facebook, that would have happened (and did happen, with a goodly number of defendants) by January 9. But Warnagiris seems like a more urgent risk.

And, remarkably, DOJ apparently did not ask for any special conditions on Warnagiris. He has no location monitoring, no restrictions on possessing a gun, no specificity to his travel around DC (most defendants have stay-away orders, but for people like Warnagiris who are local to DC, they’re sometimes restricted to their District). They did not ask him to surrender his passport. Now, perhaps something is also going on with him in the military. But the whole thing — on top of the inevitable shock of having an active duty officer arrested — raises more questions than other cases.

All of which is to say that, with a defendant who genuinely poses unique security risks, the government is now taking their time to flesh out their investigation.

I’ve said from the start that this investigation has been lightning quick. That’s still, absolutely, true. But there’s going to be a lot more happening behind closed doors in the weeks ahead.