Defendant of Maine Capitol riot says political prejudice hinders fair trial in Washington

WASHINGTON (WMTW) – Maine’s first Capitol riot defendant, Kyle Fitzsimons, claims he can’t get a fair trial in Washington because the district’s population is so anti-Trump, and Fitzsimons is a vocal supporter of Trump.

But today in court articles, federal prosecutors described that argument as “premature and worthless” and mocked the change of venue proposal as “long on hyperbole and short on real fact.”

“Courts routinely conclude that, despite significant negative pre-trial publicity, defendants received a fair trial at the site where they committed their crimes,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Juman, citing as recent examples as the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and so historical as the Watergate conspirators.

Fitzsimons is one of 664 defendants criminally charged with involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress that aimed to stop his election college testimony on the election of President Joe Biden and the defeat of Donald Trump.

Fitzsimons, who worked as an independent butcher, has been in federal custody since his arrest at his home in Lebanon, Maine, on February 4.

He was later transferred to the federal prison in Washington, DC, where he recently spent his 38th birthday.

Prosecutors today responded to the Oct. 29 motion filed by Fitzsimons defense attorney Natasha Taylor-Smith, which highlighted how 95% of DC voters voted in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections against Trump.

“The Democratic candidate received more than 90% of the vote in both elections. This surprising lack of political diversity is unique to the jury for the District of Columbia,” wrote Taylor-Smith, a Philadelphia-based federal advocate. “A trial in Washington, DC, for Mr. Fitzsimons would be of jurors who almost unanimously voted against Donald Trump, who were bombarded with propaganda about a ‘white nationalist’ attack and are continually told that they were victims of ‘rebellion’. Who were placed under a curfew. and locked up as a result of the danger posed by “domestic violent extremists.”

No test date has been set for Fitzsimons.

In requesting a change of location to Maine – “Maine is not overshadowed by biased DC politics” – defense attorney Taylor-Smith claimed that any future DC jury would be tainted by political bias.

Taylor-Smith’s motion said, “The current president of the United States has attacked Trump supporters as ‘thugs, rebels, political extremists and white supremacists.'” checks the political narrative, sends a message to all potential jurors that anything other than a guilty verdict will be unacceptable. “

Prosecutors noted that change proposals from other Capitol riot defendants, citing policy and pretrial disclosure, were rejected.

Indeed, given the large number of people involved in the Capitol Attack, it is unlikely that more than a handful of DC residents could identify Fitzsimons by name, let alone know Fitzsimons as a “racist xenophobe” in that group of “rebels” who sparked the urban siege, “prosecutor Juman wrote.

Regarding negative media attention, Juman continued, “As support for this proposal, Fitzsimons cites articles from national publications, such as DailyKos, CNN, and Esquire magazine. And Fitzsimons ignores the fact that the first results that appear in a Google search for “Kyle Fitzsimons” are articles from WMTW 8, the Portland Press Herald, and the Sun Journal, media outlets located in Maine — the exact place where Fitzsimons seeks to be tried. “

The government brought a replacement charge against Fitzsimons on November 10, but he faces the same 10 counts as before, including multiple crimes.

The major charges accuse him of attempting to forcibly break police lines at the Capitol’s West Terrace, fighting, and injuring two federal officers.

During nine-and-a-half months of pretrial detention, Fitzsimons was twice denied bail, most recently on Sept. 24 by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, who deemed him a danger to the community.

Defense attorney Taylor-Smith appeals Contreras’ verdict to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

She described Fitzsimons as someone who neither planned nor coordinated any violent actions on Jan. 6 and who drove and attended the Trump meeting alone.

“Sir. Fitzsimons was caught in the madness of the rally and protest, “Taylor-Smith wrote in her failed motion for bail.” He was swept away in the large crowd and behaved in a manner completely foreign to his actions before or after January 6. . “

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