A federal judge’s acquittal of a New Mexico man in April was a rare blemish on the Justice Department’s record of obtaining convictions Uprising in the US Capitol Cases. More than two months later, a Delaware father and son are hoping the same judge will acquit them as well.
Widespread Photographs showed Kevin Seefried carrying a Confederate flag in the Capitol after entering the building with his son Hunter. The Seefrieds were “early, aggressive and active participants” in the Capitol violation and were among the first rioters to enter the bulling on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors said.
US District Judge Trevor McFadden will testify without a jury in the Seefrieds’ bank trial, which is scheduled to begin Monday. They waived their right to a jury trial, which means McFadden will decide their cases.
McFadden, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017, has criticized the prosecutor’s handling of Capitol riot cases. He suggested that the Justice Department had unfairly cracked down on Capitol defendants than people arrested in protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
McFadden has also criticized prosecutors for seeking jail terms for some nonviolent defendants in the Capitol riots, but not for left-wing activists who protested Trump’s appointment of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The Washington Post reported.
In April McFadden Matthew Martin, who lives in New Mexico, was acquitted charged with misdemeanor that he entered the Capitol illegally and behaved disorderly after entering the building.
Martin testified that a police officer waved him into the building. A prosecutor dismissed that statement as “nonsense,” but McFadden said it was reasonable for Martin to believe that outnumbered police officers allowed him to enter the Capitol through the rotunda doors.
In March McFadden acquitted an elected official from New Mexico for disorderly conduct, but convicted him of illegally entering the restricted Capitol grounds. The judge said there was ample evidence that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin knew he was in a restricted area and did not leave it. However, McFadden concluded that prosecutors failed in their burden of proving Griffin engaged in disorderly conduct.
McFadden is the only judge to have held a bench trial in a Capitol riot case.
US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is scheduled to preside over a court hearing on Tuesday Jesus Rivera, a Pensacola, Fla. man charged with four counts of riot-related offenses. President Bill Clinton nominated Kollar-Kotelly for the court in 1997.
At least four other Capitol Riot defendants have scheduled trials this year.
Grand juries unanimously found five defendants in the Capitol riot guilty of all charges, a perfect record for prosecutors so far. More than 300 others have pleaded guilty to riot offenses, mostly offenses carrying no more than a year in prison. Around 100 more have hearing dates in 2022 or 2023. More than 800 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack.
The Seefrieds traveled to Washington from their home in Laurel, Delaware to hear Trump’s speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6. After the rally, they stopped by their car before joining the mob that stormed the Capitol, prosecutors say.
The Seefrieds climbed over a wall near a stairwell and scaffolding in the northwest section of the Capitol and were among the first rioters to approach the building near the Senate wing door, 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.
“The defendants and dozens of other rioters entered the Capitol through this window,” prosecutors wrote.
The Seefrieds joined other rioters in the confrontation Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman and in locating congressmen and the location where prosecutors said they would count the Electoral College votes for the 2020 presidential election.
Goodman, who is expected to testify at the Seefrieds’ trial, was hailed as a hero for leading a group of rioters away from the Senate chambers and up a flight of stairs to an area where other officers were waiting. Goodman also directed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, to turn and walk away from the crowd.
Kevin Seefried told the FBI he threatened Goodman with violence, saying, “And then I threw down my stick. I said, ‘You can shoot me, man, but we’re coming in,'” prosecutors said.
Kevin Seefried brought a Confederate battle flag from home and was photographed displaying it on a large flagpole as he walked through the Capitol.
“Indeed, the flag worn by Kevin Seefried served to signal his intention: the Confederate Battle Flag, a symbol of violent opposition to the United States government,” prosecutors wrote.
That Charges against Kevin and Hunter Seefried These include a felony for obstructing an official process, the joint session of Congress to confirm President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Hunter Seefried told the FBI he went to Washington because he was concerned about “fraud” related to the election, prosecutors said.
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