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Judge rules trial for Confederate father and son – Boston News, Weather, Sports

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man carrying a Confederate flag stormed the US Capitol with his son because they intended to block Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, prosecutors argued Tuesday after the conclusion of the trial of the men.

A federal judge, not a jury, will decide whether Delaware resident Kevin Seefried and his adult son, Hunter, are guilty of one felony count of disability and multiple misdemeanor related to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots.

US District Judge Trevor McFadden did not immediately issue judgment from the bench after hearing the attorneys’ closing arguments. He urged her to return to court on Wednesday afternoon.

Defense attorneys argued that the Seefrieds had no intention of disrupting the joint session of Congress to confirm the Electoral College’s vote when they entered the Capitol.

Widespread photos showed Kevin Seefried carrying a Confederate flag inside the Capitol after he and then-22-year-old Hunter Seefried entered the building through a broken window.

Eugene Ohm, one of Kevin Seefried’s attorneys, made a distinction between rioters who merely entered the house and those who entered the Capitol to disrupt Congress. Ohm said prosecutors “sometimes blurred” that line, including in the Seefrieds’ case.

Edson Bostic, Hunter Seefried’s attorney, said prosecutors asked McFadden to “take a lot of leaps and bounds” with no evidence his client intended to halt the Jan. 6 vote count.

“Nobody said they were angry,” Bostic said. “No one has said they were hostile or aggressive in their interactions with Capitol Police.”

Assistant US Attorney Benet Kearney said the Seefrieds’ behavior and words, which were captured on video, made their intentions “crystal clear.”

“They thought the election was stolen and they were upset about it,” Kearney said.

McFadden, whom President Donald Trump nominated in 2017, presided over two previous bank lawsuits against defendants in the Capitol riots. He acquitted one of all charges and partially acquitted another.

The Seefrieds trial included the first public testimony from Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who was commended for his bravery during the January 6, 2021 attack on a crowd of Trump supporters. Goodman led a group of rioters away from the Senate chambers as senators and then-Vice President Mike Pence were evacuated. He also instructed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, to turn and walk away from the crowd.

Goodman encountered Kevin Seefried before the mob chased the officer up a flight of stairs. The officer said the elder Seefried swore at him and poked him three or four times with the bottom of his flagpole without touching him.

Another Capitol Police officer who confronted the mob near the Senate chambers recalled Kevin Seefried asking, “Why are you protecting them?”

“I assumed he was talking about Congress,” Officer Brian Morgan testified.

The charges against Kevin and Hunter Seefried include one felony: obstructing an official process. They were not charged with assaulting any officials.

None of the defendants testified at their trial.

The father and son traveled to Washington from their home in Laurel, Delaware, to hear Trump’s speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, according to prosecutors.

After observing other rioters use a police shield and a wooden board to break a window, Hunter Seefried used a gloved fist to dislodge a shard of glass in one of the broken windows, prosecutors said.

FBI agents said they found no evidence linking Kevin Seefried or his son to far-right groups. Kevin Seefried told an agent that he did not consider the Confederate flag a symbol of racial hatred.

In April, McFadden acquitted New Mexico resident Matthew Martin of illegally entering the Capitol and engaging in improper conduct after entering the building.

In March, McFadden acquitted an elected New Mexico official, Couy Griffin, of involvement in disorderly conduct but convicted him of illegally entering the restricted Capitol grounds.

Separately, on Tuesday a former West Virginia city councilman was sentenced to 45 days in prison for breaching the Capitol during the riots. Eric Barber was convicted by a federal judge in Washington for his guilty plea in December to illegally entering the Capitol.

Barber was also sentenced to a seven-day prison sentence, suspended by the judge, for stealing a portable battery charger from a media booth in the Capitol.

Barber was ordered to pay $500 for the damage to the Capitol and for charger costs.

More than 800 cases have been brought so far in the largest indictment in the Justice Department’s history. So far, criminal investigations have focused primarily on the hundreds of Trump supporters who breached police barricades, smashed windows, attacked officials and stormed into the Capitol.

More than 300 other defendants have pleaded guilty to riot offenses, mostly misdemeanors. About 100 others have hearing dates in 2022 or 2023.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/judge-to-decide-trial-for-confederate-flag-toting-dad-son/ Judge rules trial for Confederate father and son – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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