Dominic Pezzola, one defendant in the Jan. 6th, 2021, Capitol breach trial, was halted Thursday because of classified FBI messages. These messages, defense attorneys claim, show FBI agents discussing evidence altering.
Pezzola is on trial for conspiracy and obstruction. Charges Related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol breach. He was taken into custody on January 15, 2021 and indicted that month. Pezzola was arrested in January 2021 and brought to trial.
“There are a couple of emails between FBI agents casually discussing altering a document and destroying hundreds of pieces of evidence. It’s very disturbing and right now we have more questions than answers,” Roots wrote. Roots confirmed that Timothy J. Kelly (a Trump appointee) had stopped the trial on Thursday because of the leaks.
The Roots-referenced exchange came to light during the testimony of Nicole Miller, a special agent with FBI. Miller was part of the FBI’s investigation into Jan. 6 defendants.
Nick Smith, an attorney representing Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean (listed in Pezzola’s court as co-defendant), cross-examined Miller and revealed classified FBI email messages that were stored in an Excel spreadsheet in a tab. Roots used this evidence to support Pezzola’s motion to dismiss.PDFRoots’s team filed charges against Pezzola on Wednesday.
Pezzola’s team claimed that emails revealed that the FBI was monitoring Nordean’s communications with his lawyer. This violated the Sixth Amendment which prohibits invading the right of counsel.Matter of Fusco against Moses).
“In the Nordean case, confidential attorneys-client trial/defense strategy and position was wrongfully obtained by the government, about which was overheard, shared, utilized, where potentially ‘338 items of evidence’ were ordered to be ‘destroyed,’ said Pezzola’s legal team in the motion to dismiss.
According to a separate filing by Nordean’s lawyers, Miller said in one correspondence that “[her] Nominated boss [her] 338 Items of Evidence [she has] to destroy”; Nordean’s lawyers allege that another email show an agent requesting Miller to “go into [a] CHS [informant] Report” that Miller “Just put [together] Edit that [the agent] It was present.”
The emails show Miller “Accused in fabricating evidence. Following orders to destroy hundreds,” Pezzola’s lawyers wrote in its motion to dismiss, and that the government obtained information that benefitted itself in the trial, causing substantial prejudice to each of the defendants, including Pezzola.
“This case must be dismissed if justice is to be understood.” Pezzola’s lawyer said.
Roots, an attorney at John Pierce Law, is representing Pezzola on a pro bono basis. Legal non-profit National Constitutional Law Union (NCLU) is helping cover Roots’s expenses while he is in Washington, according to NCLU Executive Director Natalie Danelishen.
“I believe we need to take a longer time to understand some of Agent Miller’s emails.” Roots told The Epoch Times.
As of Thursday evening, the court has not issued an order responding to the motion to dismiss.
Alleged Brady Violations
In addition to their argument about the Sixth Amendment, Pezzola’s lawyers also argued in their motion to dismiss that newly surfaced footage of events of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach constitutes exculpatory evidence. The defendants’ lawyers say the government, by withholding that evidence, violated their client’s constitutional rights as defined in Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 case in which the Supreme Court held that prosecutors must make available exculpatory evidence to defense counsel.
The defendants’ motion comes two days after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) released more than 40,000 hours of Jan. 6 footage to Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who then aired some of the footage on his show on Monday and Tuesday.
One tape aired Monday showed Capitol Police officers walking alongside Jacob Chansley, a Jan. 6 defendant serving a 41-month sentence after pleading guilty to an obstruction charge. Chansley was unarmed and walked past several Capitol police officers.
The aired footage “This is unambiguously exulpatory.” Pezzola’s lawyers said in the motion.
The FBI declined to comment and referred The Epoch Times to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for comment.
U.S. Attorney’s Office did not provide The Epoch Times with comment by press time.
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