Update, 3:45 p.m.: U.S. District Judge John Bates on Monday ordered Federico Klein to be released, reasoning that prosecutors did not present sufficient evidence to show that the former State Department employee presented “an articulable prospective threat to the safety of the community.” Bates relied heavily on the district court’s recent decision to release Eric Munchel (a.k.a. “Zip-Tie Guy”) and his mother Lisa Marie Eisenhart from jail after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered a new assessment of the decisions to keep them in pretrial detention.
“The degree to which Klein’s behavior on January 6 appears, at least on paper, to be an aberration in his life makes his dangerousness challenging to assess. So, too, does his lack of planning. The D.C. Circuit recently remarked that ‘those who actually assaulted police officers and broke through windows, doors, and barricades, and those who aided, conspired with, planned, or coordinated such actions, are in a different category of dangerousness than those who cheered on the violence or entered the Capitol after others cleared the way,’” Bates wrote, quoting from the Munchel decision. “Klein’s actions may place in him in the former category, but just barely—his conduct does not approach the high end of the spectrum of violence that occurred and was threatened that day.”
Original story is below.
A former Trump administration appointee accused of being one of the people comprising the “first wave” of individuals who violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 asked a federal judge on Monday to grant his request to be released from jail on bond, arguing that other rioters facing similar charges have not been subjected to pretrial detention.
Federico Guillermo “Freddie” Klein— a former so-called “Schedule-C political appointee” in the State Department’s office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs—is currently being detained on six federal criminal charges in connection with the siege, including “assaulting, resisting, or impeding” police officers “using a dangerous weapon.”
Federal magistrate judge Zia Faruqui of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. last month ordered Klein to remain behind bars until his trial, reasoning that he swore multiple oaths as a government employee and as a former member of the armed forces to protect America against “all enemies foreign and domestic” — but then “switched sides” by participating in the siege.
Prosecutors had argued that Klein should not be released because his “violent and enthusiastic” participation in a “dangerous mob” that amassed in the tunnel entrance of the lower West Terrance of the Capitol made him a danger to the community.
Klein’s attorney, Stanley E. Woodward, argued Monday that several other rioters accused of “appearing in or at the entrance of the Tunnel at the West Terrace” and acted in a similar fashion to Klein had been released ahead of their scheduled court date.
“A review of the cases pending against those alleged to have participated in the events of January 6 demonstrate that the conduct Mr. Klein is alleged to have committed does not warrant detention, even in the view of the government,” Woodward wrote. “The government has not sought detention for those alleged to have encouraged the participation of others nor those who have wielded riot shields or pushed against the MPD officer line within the Tunnel. Like, Mr. Klein, a common denominator among these cases is the fact that the defendants are not alleged to have injured anyone in fact.”
Woodward further asserted that the government was treating Klein more harshly than other rioters because of his prior employment with the State Department.
“The only factor cited by the government not addressed in any of the preceding cases is the fact that Mr. Klein was a government employee on January 6 who had been issued a Top Secret Security Clearance as part of his employment,” Woodward wrote. “Contrary to the assertion of the government, this factor demonstrates that Mr. Klein is a reputable member of his community whose service to our country has only been exemplified by his service in our Armed Forces, including in the Iraq War. There appears to be no precedent, and the government has cited none, applying a different standard for pretrial detention because one ‘should have known better’ or, as articulated by the government at the April 9 hearing, because one was motivated by their politics or political beliefs.”
The next hearing in Klein’s case is scheduled for March 22.
Read the full filing below:
[image via federal court records]
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