Philadelphia prosecutors on Monday asked a judge to hold a Virginia man in contempt of court over a video that shows him meeting with top leaders of two far-right groups in Washington DC the day before the riot in January 6.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s request in the case against Joshua Macias, 43, comes after the House Committee investigating the insurrection shed light on the Jan. 5 underground garage meeting between the leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, who were charged with seditious conspiracy in the attack on the Capitol.
Macias was arrested on weapons and election laws charges in November 2020 after going to the Pennsylvania Convention Center where votes were being counted with guns and ammunition. He was out on bail on January 6.
Macias, the co-founder of the group Vets for Trump, has not been charged in the Capitol riot. But Philadelphia prosecutors say his presence at the extremist leaders’ meeting the day before indicates he played a much bigger role in the insurgency than they previously imagined. Enrique Tarrio, the former president of the Proud Boys, and Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, have both been accused of conspiring with other extremists to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
“We have to radically reconsider whether Joshua Macias is a mid-sized fish or a shark. I believe it’s a shark,” Krasner said. “He is already charged with breaching his bail conditions this week. But it’s a startling revelation.
Attorney William J. Brennan, who represents Macias, declined to comment on the new filing on Monday, but said he planned to continue trying the case in court rather than in the media. A phone message left for co-counsel in the case was not returned on Monday.
The Philadelphia filing comes as the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection was keen to highlight the secret parking garage meeting mentioned in the federal indictments and raise further questions about the number of people who might have known what far-right extremist groups were planning. to be done the next day.
The publicly released video of the meeting between Rhodes and Tarrio does not reveal much about their discussion. A documentary filmmaker – who was filming Tarrio and testified at the House committee hearing last week – recorded part of the meeting, but Tarrio and others waved him off.
Federal prosecutors only said that one of the meeting attendees “referred to the Capitol,” but no other details about what the two extremist group leaders discussed have come to light in the criminal cases or court hearings. House committee.
Federal prosecutors argued in a court filing last month that Tarrio’s decision to meet with Rhodes demonstrates he “remained engaged in Jan. 6 planning” even after his Jan. 4 arrest for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner. Matter in a historic Black Lives Matter. church during a demonstration in December 2020.
Macias was a scheduled speaker outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, using what prosecutors said was the same language oath keepers had spread, including saying Vice President Pence was a traitor who betrayed the country.
Macias was arrested alongside 63-year-old Antonio LaMotta early on November 5, 2020, after Philadelphia police officers acting on FBI advice, arrested the men near the convention center.
Authorities said they parked a Hummer a few blocks away that was adorned with QAnon stickers and contained an AR-style rifle, more than 100 rounds of ammunition, a sword and lock picking tools. LaMotta carried an unlicensed firearm and Macias carried a licensed firearm in Virginia, authorities said.
Prosecutors had asked that the two be held without bail and called the incident a mass shooting that nearly happened. A judge set bail at $750,000, with 10% bail.
Prosecutors filed a motion to have that bond revoked, arguing that the two men violated the terms of their release by attending the Jan. 6 rally and displaying support for a pro-Trump candidate. It was also noted that this candidate was present at the January 5 parking garage meeting.
A judge raised bail for the two men to $850,000 and they were released.
Prosecutors have requested a contempt hearing after a video surfaced on social media where Macias could have been heard recounting live behind-the-camera video of a ‘trucker protest’ in Washington and allegations that he reportedly attended at least one political rally for a Virginia candidate who called for the execution of everyone involved in electing President Joe Biden.
A hearing on the initial contempt allegation is scheduled for Friday. In Monday’s motion, prosecutors asked that Macias be found guilty of criminal contempt and sentenced to five months and 29 days in jail.
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