WASHINGTON — A federal choose in D.C. on Tuesday will hand down verdicts within the trial of three Jan. 6 defendants that would have a serious impression on the trajectory of Capitol assault prosecutions going ahead.
The three males — Patrick McCaughey, Tristan Stevens, and David Mehaffie — have appeared for a bench, or non-jury trial, earlier than U.S. District Decide Trevor McFadden, a Donald Trump appointee who’s the one federal choose in D.C. who has acquitted a Jan. 6 defendant. Following a trial that spanned two weeks, McFadden stated he would announce the verdicts at 3 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.
Every defendant is dealing with a variety of legal fees, together with felony counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers and aiding and abetting; obstruction of an official continuing; and civil dysfunction.
Federal prosecutors have secured responsible verdicts on each cost introduced in opposition to each defendant in jury trials, to date. A blended verdict within the bench trial of McCaughey, Stevens, and Mehaffie might encourage much more defendants to strive their luck at a bench trial at a time when the Justice Division, FBI, and D.C. federal courtroom system are struggling to maintain tempo with an enormous investigation that has packed the courtroom docket, with lots of extra arrests nonetheless but to return.
Whereas McFadden has acquitted two defendants on misdemeanor fees (one defendant of all fees, one other defendant of one in every of his fees), neither he nor any choose or jury has acquitted a Capitol defendant on a felony cost.
The case facilities across the location of among the most brutal violence of Jan. 6, on the prime of the platform that had been arrange for President Joe Biden’s inauguration. The “tunnel” on the prime of the momentary scaffolding — referred to by one choose as “the entranceway for Woman Gaga” due to her efficiency on the inauguration — noticed among the most violent clashes between rioters and police, as lots of of Trump supporters tried to drive their approach contained in the Capitol. Law enforcement officials sustained a number of severe accidents on the location as rioters dragged cops out of the tunnel, together with former Metropolitan Police Division Officer Michael Fanone, who had a stun gun pushed into his neck.
On-line sleuths dubbed McCaughey #ThePinman, Stevens #ShaggyProfessor, and Mehaffie #TunnelCommander. Mehaffie was recognized by on-line sleuths with the assistance of a facial recognition hit on his Classmates.com profile. He earned the nickname as a result of footage exhibits Mehaffie serving as a form of crossing guard for rioters, standing above and watching the battle whereas directing different rioters out and in of the tunnel. He’s additionally seen grabbing a stick as officers attempt to drive him off the ledge.
Footage performed at trial additionally exhibits Mehaffie encouraging members of the mob to climb over a retaining wall on the restricted grounds of the U.S. Capitol earlier than he reached the tunnel the place among the worst violence of Jan. 6 happened.
“If we won’t combat over this wall, we won’t win this battle! Come on!” Mehaffie yells as he encourages others over the retaining wall.
Mehaffie testified throughout his trial and portrayed his point out of a “battle” as an ideological battle reasonably than a bodily one.
“In case you consider our nation’s in bother, we actually are in in a battle as as to if you get up, we get referred to as names and get lumped into teams. So that’s precisely the battle I’m speaking about,” Mehaffie testified. “In case you can’t enter into the battle of concepts, you’ve, you’ve misplaced all of your freedoms.”
Mehaffie conceded, beneath cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Legal professional Kimberly Paschall, that the mob “knew” that police “wished us to depart.” Below questioning from his personal lawyer, he additionally stated he wished he hadn’t held a stolen police defend up for the cheering crowd, saying it was “precisely the other” of what he claimed he wished to convey.
MPD Officer Daniel Hodges, who was crushed in a door through the Jan. 6 assault, testified for the prosecution about how he was pinned by a police defend being held by defendant McCaughey.
“It, mixed with all the things else that was occurring, made it tough to breathe,” Hodges testified. “Being crushed by the defend and the folks behind it … leaving me defenseless, injured.”
“There is no such thing as a good option to combat again in opposition to it,” Hodges stated. “It’s important to endure the stress that it creates.”
U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell additionally testified, the second time he is carried out so in a Capitol assault trial.
Video exhibits Stevens grabbing a baton, however his protection legal professional recommended that Stevens was solely making an attempt to defend himself, in line with The Washington Put up.
“If my reminiscence serves appropriate, we the officers had been those on responsibility that day, not him,” Gonell responded, in line with The Washington Put up.
Video additionally exhibits Stevens asking officers in the event that they knew “what occurs to” traitors, as WUSA9 reported.
“They get tied to a submit and shot,” Stevens Are you prepared for that?”
Within the sprawling Capitol investigation, the FBI has arrested greater than 850 folks, and greater than 350 defendants have pleaded responsible. Sentences have ranged from probation to a decade in federal jail for a former New York Metropolis Police Division cop who assaulted a D.C. police officer on Jan. 6 after which lied on the stand.
Eight Capitol assault defendants who took their instances to a jury — Man Reffitt, Thomas Robertson, Dustin Thompson, Thomas Webster, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, Anthony Robert Williams, Matthew Bledsoe, and Erik Herrera — had been convicted on each rely.