Politics - News Analysis
Proud Boy Who Participated in Capitol Siege Wants Out of Jail Because His Back Hurts
Attorneys have to represent their clients. It just “is.” So some of the arguments used to argue that the January 6th rioters should be released from jail prior to trial can sound ridiculous because they are ridiculous. It is just all the attorneys have.
But William Chrestman, who was arrested in Kansas City with four other Kansas members of the Proud Boys, has a couple of unique arguments, one of which is important and one silly. Pictures from the Capitol riot appear to show Chrestman in tactical gear, wearing a respirator, and carrying a wooden axe handle. He faces multiple charges, including conspiracy, civil disorder, and threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer. Originally a U.S. magistrate allowed Chrestman to be released. But upon coming before the U.S. District Court judge, the judge said “no,” reversed the order, and put Chrestman back in jail.
The very noteworthy thing is that this Proud Boy member’s attorney wants the court to directly blame Trump for the attempted coup. As we see more and more of these arguments popping up in court, DOJ is going to feel more and more pressure to charge Trump for inciting that riot (though there are reasons to doubt that will happen). The people most responsible for the attempted coup say it was Trump himself who said “Go” at the Capitol.
According to WUSA Channel 9 in Kansas City, Chrestman’s attorneys wrote:
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“It is an astounding thing to imagine storming the United States Capitol with sticks and flags and bear spray, arrayed against armed and highly trained law enforcement. Only someone who thought they had an official endorsement would even attempt such a thing. And a Proud Boy who had been paying attention would very much believe he did,”
On a rather amusing note, his attorneys sought his release due to a back condition causing him pain. They point to the fact that he was on disability for the back problem prior to the riot. Federal prosecutors pointed out the absurdity of the argument. He could swing an axe handle and charge at the Capitol.
“Mr. Chrestman was receiving disability and [being] treated by the Veterans’ Administration,” attorney Peter Cooper wrote. “His current detention status places him in danger of losing those significant benefits.
“Interestingly, the defendant’s back pain did not prevent him from storming the United States Capitol while armed with an axe handle, threatening law enforcement officers, and attempting to prevent Congressional proceedings, among other conduct,”
[email protected] and on Twitter @JasonMiciak