'You’ve admitted to obstruction of justice': A Capitol rioter tried to defend himself in court. He was charged with 2 more felonies

'You’ve admitted to obstruction of justice': A Capitol rioter tried to defend himself in court. He was charged with 2 more felonies
US Capitol Grounds East Plaza off First Street and East Capitol Street, Washington DC on Wednesday afternoon, 6 January 2021 by Elvert Barnes Photography

When one Capitol rioter decided to self-represent in court, he was forewarned by the judge that testifying on his own behalf could result in additional charges and him being sent back to jail. Unfortunately for the defendant, the judge was correct.

According to WUSA-9, Brandon Fellows was sent back to jail after further incriminating himself when he testified before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden.

Prior to Fellows' testimony, McFadden made it clear that perjury —and possibly obstruction of justice— could lead to more problems than he was already facing. But despite the warning, Fellows was allowed to proceed. "Most people do not do this," U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden told Fellows. "Obviously your attorney has discouraged this. I do not think this is a good idea… but I'm going to allow you to take the stand if you wish."

At his bond hearing on Tuesday, October 12, Fellows requested to call Cara Halverson, his former public defender, to the stand as a witness so he could explain a so-called legal loophole they discussed to have McFadden disqualified from overseeing the case. When that request was denied by the judge, Fellows rambled on as he detailed the legal advice he requested from Halverson about having McFadden removed; an action Halverson told him was illegal.

"Fellows said he asked Halverson if he should contact McFadden's family as a means of disqualifying him from presiding over his case. He also said he had told Halverson – to her horror – about a previous occasion in which he'd intentionally put the phone number of another judge's wife as his emergency contact in order to get a new judge. In that case, the judge was replaced with another."

For nearly two hours, Fellows reportedly continued rambling as he shared his endless grievances about life behind bars. However, the turning point came when Assistant U.S. Attorney Mona Furst cross-examined Fellows.

WUSA-9 reports that Furst managed to get Fellows to admit – under oath – "that he had climbed into the Capitol through a broken window without police permission, that he had used the previous judge's wife's contact information to try to get him removed from the case and that he had missed court-ordered mental health and drug testing appointments."

Capitol Riot suspect in tears at sentencingyoutu.be

After listening to Fellows' tactless rant, McFadden laid down the law. "You are charged with a federal felony," McFadden said. "This is not a community college where you get pats on the back."

The judge went on to highlight where Fellows' incriminated himself.

"You've admitted to incredible lapses of judgment here on the stand, not least of which was seeking to disqualify a New York state judge," the judge continued. "You've admitted to obstruction of justice in that case, and you've admitted to what was probably obstruction in this case in trying to have me disqualified, and only Ms. Halverson's advice stopped you from doing so. You've engaged in a pattern of behaviors that shows contempt for the criminal justice system, and I just have no confidence that you will follow my orders if I release you."

Fellows, a resident of Albany, N.Y., was remanded back to custody at the Washington, D.C. Jail.

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