A former State Department official under Donald Trump’s administration violated the terms of his pre-trial release by getting “drunk” at his mother’s house, a government official told at a federal judge on Monday.
Charged with assaulting police and other offenses in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Federico Guillermo “Freddie” Klein worked in the office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs. He also served in the U.S. military, taking an oath to protect the nation against “all enemies foreign and domestic.”
That was before, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui, Klein “switched sides” in order to join the pro-Trump mob seeking to prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s electory victory. The judge ordered Klein jailed pending trial in a ruling this past March.
After the D.C. Circuit issued rulings raising the bar for pre-trial detention. U.S. District Judge John Bates ordered Klein released roughly a month later. Prosecutors asked a different federal judge to revisit that decision on Monday in light of an alleged violation of his terms.
Klein’s prosecution has significantly expanded since that time, growing into a sprawling, nine-defendant, fourth superseding indictment with 53 charges among them. Internet sleuths have dubbed Klein #TunnelCommander for allegedly steering a group of people in assaulting law enforcement in the U.S. Capitol tunnel.
Court papers quote Klein saying on video: “We need fresh people.”
His co-defendants are Patrick E. McCaughey III, Tristan Chandler Stevens, David Lee Judd, Christopher Joseph Quaglin, Geoffrey William Sills, David Mehaffie, and Steven Cappuccio. All pleaded not guilty to their latest indictment on Monday. Judd, who is accused of throwing a firecracker at U.S. Capitol police officers, has filed a motion alleging selective prosecution.
“Most of the January 6 defendants were vocal supporters of then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, and were protesting Congress’s certification of Biden as the winner of the November presidential election,” Judd’s federal public defender Elizabeth Mullin wrote in her motion. “Many individuals – though not Mr. Judd – then breached the Capitol building with the intent of interrupting Congress’s certification of the election results. Mr. Judd and the rest of the January 6 defendants are being prosecuted by a Democratic administration.”
U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden, who presided over Monday’s hearing, said he was “skeptical” about Mullin’s motion, noting that proving selective prosecution has a high bar.
Judge McFadden also admonished Mehaffie for violating his pre-trial release conditions by going into the water with his GPS monitoring device, telling him that would be his “one and only” warning.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Joy Jackson added that all had been sent plea offers with unspecified deadlines, but she expected the proposed deals would expire before the next hearing.
Klein’s lawyer Stanley Edmund Woodward, Jr. said he would “respectfully disagree” with the allegation of pre-trial violation, claiming his client’s pre-trial officer demonstrated “an obvious level of contempt” in their communications.
“I have repeatedly reached out to the pre-trial officer in this case,” Woodward said. “She does not respond to me.”
Woodward claims that his client “has done everything he can to demonstrate his compliance” with pre-trial conditions.
A pre-trial services officer said she could not comment on the allegations of contempt, but she went on to specify the nature of the alleged violations. Klein allegedly was drinking with his mother, and his battery wasn’t charged properly on his GPS monitoring, the officer said.
Judge McFadden warned Klein that could count against him at sentencing, if he is convicted. Klein would be “starting out behind the eight ball,” the judge added.
If prosecutors want to revoke Klein’s release, they must file a motion to do so.
[image via federal court records]
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