Pezzola’s lawyers plead for Proud Boy’s release pending trial
Lawyers representing accused Capitol Hill rioter Dominic Pezzola argue that he should be released pending trial because his constitutional rights are violated and because he poses no risk of absconding.
Lawyers Steven Metcalf and Martin Tankleff have filed a 230-page bail motion to have Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, on conditional release pending trial.
Pezzola, who is now jailed for five months in a Washington, DC jail, is accused of assaulting a United States Capitol Police officer during the January 6 riots and ripping off the riot shield of the officer, which he then used to open it. a window of the Capitol. This gave people unhindered access to the interior of the building, according to court documents.
He is charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States; two counts of assaulting, resisting or obstructing a Capitol Hill police officer, and other counts. Pezzola pleaded not guilty in early May to an indictment replacing 11 counts.
In a statement, Pezzola’s daughters, aged 16 and 20, said they miss their father and want him to come home because “he is the rock of our family. When we see people accused of crimes worse than our father, we can’t help but think about how our father stays incarcerated.
Pezzola’s common-law wife Lisa Magee said her husband “has been involved in a social justice movement, as so many others have done in the past two years. However, my husband is treated differently. because he was arrested in connection with incidents that occurred on January 6, 2021.
USA Today reports that at least 535 people have been arrested in connection with the Capitol violation. Pezzola is indicted on the same indictment along with his fellow Proud Boys Matthew Greene, of Syracuse, and William Pepe, of Beacon, Dutchess County.
Like Pezzola, Greene is being held without bail, while Pepe is free on his own recognizance.
Lawyers for Pezzola, Tankleff and Metcalf said in a statement: “Dominic’s continued detention is discriminatory and deprives him of his constitutional rights.
“Dominic’s human rights are violated on a daily basis. Dominic is also denied his right to help in his own defense.”
Metcalf and Tankleff present three major arguments in favor of the provisional release of Pezzola:
- The conditions inside DC prison are appalling, they say. They allege that his rights are violated on a daily basis, as those charged in connection with the events of January 6 are treated differently from other detainees and housed in “hole” conditions without access to showers. “There is a clear deprivation of equal protection under the law. Many, including Dom, have suffered when the conditions of containment are publicly exposed,” they say.
- Pezzola cannot participate in his own defense because he is deprived of his right to effective legal assistance. He cannot speak to his lawyers in a confidential setting and does not have access to discovery documents. The lawyers ask Pezzola for access to a laptop.
- Finally, Pezzola’s lawyers maintain that there is a “presumption against release on bail against the defendants”. Metcalf and Tankleff argue prosecutors cannot prove Pezzola is a flight risk or a danger to the community. Pezzola is a family man, owns a flooring business and is a US Marine Corps veteran.
Prosecutors allege that Pezzola and others conspired, planned and then participated in an effort to interfere with the Electoral College vote counting by Congress to certify the victory of President Joe Biden. The Proud Boys, an extremist white supremacist organization referred to as a hate group, have used social media, text messaging and encrypted apps to recruit and organize their efforts.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Erik Kenerson wrote in a February filing that Pezzola had committed a crime of terrorism.
“The criminal destruction of property … is a federal crime of terrorism,” Kenerson wrote. He said the law defines a “federal crime of terrorism as an offense which” is calculated to influence or affect government conduct through intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct. “
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If a federal judge dismisses Pezzola’s request for release, his lawyers demand that he be placed in the custody of a third party (likely his wife) and placed in a watch program from a preliminary services agency that could include a electronic surveillance, work release and curfew.
Des Moines man Douglas Jensen, 41, a QAnon adherent who was filmed at the Capitol breach was released Tuesday by a federal judge under house arrest and electronic surveillance, the Associated Press reported. Jensen has not been charged with knocking down barricades, damaging property or fighting with anyone on Capitol Hill, the judge said.
Contact Will Cleveland at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @ willcleveland13. Thank you to our subscribers for supporting quality local journalism. If you are not a subscriber, please consider a digital subscription.