Judge loses patience in MAGA riot case: 'I can no longer give the defendant the benefit of the doubt'
A federal judge on Thursday lost patience with an accused Capitol rioter who expressed "no regrets" about his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Brandon Fellows, a former grocery store worker from Schenectady, New York, was ordered back to jail while awaiting trial after a federal judge ruled he had violated the terms of his pretrial release by calling his probation officer's mother.
NEW: Judge Trevor McFadden says Capitol defendant Brandon Fellows has shown \u201csustained contempt for the government.\u201d \n\nPretrial release is revoked. He\u2019ll be locked up.\n\n\u201cI can no longer give the defendant the benefit of the doubt,\u201d he said. \u201cI\u2019ve tried, but we are where we are.\u201dpic.twitter.com/7LOUvM9mxv— Ryan J. Reilly (@Ryan J. Reilly) 1626363496
"I can no longer give the defendant the benefit of the doubt," said District Court Judge Trevor McFadden. "I've tried, but we are where we are."
Prosecutors said the 27-year-old Donald Trump supporter skipped a court-ordered mental health evaluation and then called and spoke to his supervising probation officer's mother, and he was arrested again for violating court orders.
Fellows, who traveled to Washington, D.C., to hear Trump speak and wound up inside the Capitol, where he smoked a joint with his feet propped on the desk of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and heckled police officers while roaming the halls.
"I have no regrets," Fellows said shortly after the riot. "I didn't hurt anyone, I didn't break anything. I did trespass though, I guess."
He later amended his boast to say he did have one regret.
"I do regret potentially smoking what may have been weed," he said in February. "I think that discredits me and makes me look stupid to a lot of people, and also it's not something I want to be sharing with my future children."
Prosecutors asked Fellows to plead guilty to felony obstruction of Congress, which carries a 15- to 21-month prison term, but defense attorneys say the government insists on asking the sentencing judge for a terrorism enhancement.
"I've definitely been annoying and I see the frustration from you and all of the parties," Fellows said. "I wouldn't want to deal with me if I was on the opposing side."
Earlier in today\u2019s hearing, Fellows apologized to the court for his behavior. \u2018I've definitely been annoying and I see the frustration from you and all of the parties\u2026I wouldn\u2019t want to deal with me if I was on the opposing side\u2026.'— Josh Gerstein (@Josh Gerstein) 1626364405
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