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By Sarah May on
 March 14, 2023

Attorney for J6 protester files motion against DOJ after unseen Capitol footage airs

Ripple effects continue to flow from Fox News host Tucker Carlson's decision to air previously unseen footage of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol unrest, and a lawyer for one of the protesters still jailed on charges stemming from that day has just filed a motion seeking to stop the Biden Justice Department from continuing to promulgate an arguably false narrative of events.

Attorney Joseph McBride took to Twitter on Friday to explain the reasoning behind the filing, made on behalf of his client, Ryan Nichols, in which he asks the court to exclude DOJ representations regarding the supposed deaths of police officers amid the demonstrations.

“We just filed a motion in USA v. Ryan Taylor Nichols to prevent the government from advancing the false narrative that police were killed by protestors on J6,” wrote McBride, who added, “NO MORE LIES.

McBride's motion requests that the court “exclude the prosecution from arguing, mentioning, or presenting claims by Government witnesses at trial, that are unduly prejudicial about the deaths of police officers wrongfully attributed to demonstrations that took place on January 6, 2021.”

The motion refers specifically to the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, which countless Democrats – President Joe Biden himself – have long claimed came that day at the hands of protesters unhappy with the results of the 2020 election.

However the truth about Sicknick's death – which occurred on Jan. 7 – was called into question following Carlson's recent airing of surveillance footage showing the officer strolling the halls of the Capitol “after he was supposedly murdered by the mob outside,” as the Fox News host suggested.

Carlson added, “Whatever happened to Brian Sicknick was very obviously not the result of violence he suffered at the entrance of the Capitol. This tape overturns the single most powerful and politically useful lie the Democrats have told us about January 6.”

In keeping with that context, McBride's filing laments that “a motion of this type would be unnecessary under normal circumstances where we would assume care and truthfulness from prosecutors.”

“However,” the lawyer added, “Attorney General Merrick Garland, the attorney in charge of the Department of Justice, and President Joe Biden, Garland's boss, continue to peddle misinformation to the public regarding imaginary police deaths that took place on January 6, 2021.”

It is not just Nichols' case, however, in which the footage aired by Carlson is prompting additional scrutiny of the DOJ's representations, as that of Jacob Chansley – the so-called QAnon Shaman – has also triggered a closer look from Georgetown University law professor and prominent legal commentator Jonathan Turley.

Previously unreleased footage of Chansley's time in the Capitol showed the wildly costumed and face-painted demonstrator engaging in no property destruction or violence, but instead being escorted by police officers who appeared cordial and unconcerned about his presence, as the New York Post notes.

Turley, for his part, points out that Chansley walked past no fewer than 12 armed officers, none of whom attempted to impede his progress – images that stand in stark contrast to the portrayal presented by Justice Department prosecutors, who eventually secured a 41-month prison sentence in the case.

As Turley notes, “it's not clear if the defense had access to all of these videotapes. Regardless, these tapes are in sharp contrast to what was presented in court.”

Whether the ongoing government misrepresentations or Justice Department decisions to withhold exculpatory evidence from Jan. 6 defendants ultimately provide strong grounds for defendants to appeal convictions or vacate pleas remains to be seen, but it is difficult not to agree with the conclusion of Elon Musk who, after viewing the Chansley footage, stated simply, “This is crazy. The public was misled.”

Written By:
Sarah May

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