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Public comments on Straka elicit warnings from federal judges

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At the hearing, the federal judge who oversaw the criminal prosecution of Trump supporter influencer Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway campaign, told Straka’s attorneys if their clients continue to publicly deny the facts. He admitted in his guilty plea and cautioned in three interviews with the federal government. Straka could be indicted under federal law, which makes it illegal to lie to federal officials, and it also makes it illegal to lie during federal proceedings.

Judge Dabney Friedrich told Bilal Essayli, a partner at Essayli & Brown in Irvine, Calif., at the August 3 situation meeting, “Please also note that Mr. Straka has issued a statement regarding his petition. I turned,” he said. “He could find himself guilty of 1001 indictments…let him know these aren’t wise choices he’s making.”

“1001 Prosecution” is a reference to a section of the United States Code that prohibits “knowingly” making any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation.

On Jan. 24, the openly gay Straka was accused of rioting in an attempt to overturn the results of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when the grounds were closed to the public. During that time, he pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor for entering the grounds of the Capitol. 2020 presidential election. There is no evidence that Straka participated in the violence or entered the Capitol, but he urged others to take plastic shields from police officers fighting the mob, met in person and was socialized later in the day. made other statements in the media. Reasonably understood to support violence.

Straka was sentenced to 90 days of home detention and three years of probation. He had to pay a $5,000 fine and he had to pay $500 in restitution to repair the damage done to the Capitol building by the mob. With his home detention completed, Straka joined a right-wing chorus of various conservative media outlets, claiming that the nearly 800 mobsters who have been indicted and, in some cases, convicted of crimes are victims of left-wing detention. claim. In its most extreme rhetoric, some right-wingers refer to mobs as political prisoners and dissidents.

In a May 12 appearance on a podcast produced by former Fox News host Lou Dobbs, Straka said he saw no violence when he entered the Capitol grounds and stood near the entrance to the building. The police were “just standing there…they were literally standing in the doorway,” he said.

He made an eight-minute video of himself on the Capitol grounds, which has since been removed from When he was heard saying “go, go” in the video, instead of urging the mob to enter the building, Straka was urging a young woman exiting the building to walk past him. .

He also disdained the legal proceedings that led to his guilty plea, saying it was an effort to “create a devastating narrative” and not intended to “execute actual justice.” He made similar comments to other media outlets.

“When you agree to a plea bargain, you’re essentially giving the government permission to write the story from A to Z,” Straka told Dobbs. “This is fiction and they have the right to write this fiction.” I have.”

These statements imply he lied when he pleaded guilty, and likely lied when discussing what he did on Jan. 6 in three interviews with federal law enforcement. Friedrich said he would request a report from federal probation.

“I will seek probation for regular status reports about his supervision,” she told Essayri, who said he would speak to Straka about his remarks. was “currently traveling” and did not attend the hearing.

More than 150 police officers were injured in the January 6 riots. One officer died of a stroke during the riot. A mob was shot dead by police inside the Capitol building. Another of his two mobsters died of natural causes and a third of a drug overdose. Four police officers committed suicide after the riot.

The August 3 status meeting was convened by the clerk of the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. after some of the documents filed in his case were inadvertently released under seal. A coalition of media organizations called for those records to be unsealed, and Friedrich ordered his four motions to seal these records unsealed, but explained Straka’s cooperation with federal law enforcement on a basis. The document was not opened. Friedrich said the underlying documents he released less than half an hour later were sealed again.

“The sensitive attachment was resealed less than 30 minutes after opening,” she said. “The Court and the Clerk’s Office deeply regret the release of these documents,” Friedrich said, but added that the attorney should not have submitted the information in the first place.

“I think the government has some responsibility here,” she said. She said, “I think the defense has some responsibility… I think it should be assumed that this kind of information is not put in the minutes… You guys need to be more careful.”

A nominal Democrat, Straka gained popularity on the right in 2018 when he recorded a video urging Democrats to abandon the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party. He has been embraced by right-wing news outlets, conservative conferences, the Trump campaign, and other right-wing groups.