Maine’s most seriously charged Jan. 6 riot defendant, Kyle Fitzsimons, set to stand trial
Fitzsimons faces felony charges for allegely assautling and injuring officers at Capitol
WASHINGTON D.C. (WMTW) - Kyle Fitzsimons is the first defendant from Maine who will stand trial for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, in U.S. District Court, in Washington, D.C., starting Tuesday.
Fitzsimons is one of 860 alleged rioters who have been charged by federal prosecutors.
Fitzsimons, 38, has waived his right to a trial by jury and will instead have his guilt or innocence decided by Judge Rudolph Contreras, who denied Fitzsimons’ request for a change of venue.
Contreras rejected Fitzsimons’ argument, also advanced unsuccessfully by other Jan. 6 defendants, that the district’s overwhelming vote in the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden over Donald Trump made seating an impartial jury impossible.
Fitzsimons faces 11 criminal charges, six of them felonies, including obstructing an official proceeding — Congress certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump — disorderly conduct in a restricted building and grounds, and most seriously, assaulting and injuring three law enforcement officers.
Those officers are expected to testify, and one of them, Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, spoke to CNN last year.
“I got hurt,” Gonell told CNN, without naming anyone. “They kept saying, ‘Trump sent me. We are here to take over the Capitol. We are here to hang Mike Pence.’”
Videos from building security and police body cameras show Fitzsimons at the western entrance to the Capitol, wearing a white butcher coat he would wear to work in Maine, appearing to brawl with officers.
He retreated after police struck him in the head, and new videos prosecutors plan to play at trial show a dazed and bloodied Fitzsimons wandering the grounds.
The day after the riot, Fitzsimons boasted of being at the “Stop the Steal” rally, when he phoned into a public meeting of the Board of Selectmen in Lebanon, Maine, where he lived with his wife and their child.
Fitzsimons told the selectmen, “The march was, in my belief, was supposed to demonstrate that Trump, a lion, was leading an army of lambs to change the corrupt fraud that had been perpetuated.” FBI agents arrested Fitzsimons at his home in Lebanon a month after the riot, and he’s been jailed and denied the opportunity to post bail for a year and a half.
As evidence released to justify his continued detention revealed, his jailhouse phone calls with family members were recorded.
“I was there on a religious pilgrimage,” Fitzsimons told an aunt in one call.
No family members have responded to WMTW requests for comment.
In an online crowdfunding campaign labeling Fitzsimons a “political prisoner,” one cousin raised $20,000 dollars for him and his defense.
Prosecutors have asked the judge to compel Fitzsimons, who is represented by a taxpayer-funded federal public defender, to apply a majority of those funds to his defense costs.
Fitzsimons moved to Maine after living in upstate New York and Rhode Island, states he described as “multicultural hell holes” in a 2017 anti-immigration rant before a Maine state legislative committee.” Killing off Yankee New England culture! You’re doing nothing about it! No, you’re bringing in the new Third World. You’re bringing in the replacements,” Fitzsimons testified to the panel against a proposed education center for new immigrants. “The state motto is ‘I lead, Dirigo.’ OK? It’s got two white laborers on it. Don’t put them at the end of the line.”
Government evidence includes phone messages Fitzsimons left at the offices of both Maine members of the House of Representatives, Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden, urging them to object to the presidential election results on Jan. 6.
“I am asking for your courage, sir, courage to dispute what we all know is a garbage election,” Fitzsimons said in the recorded message to Golden.
Fitzsimons rejected government plea offers, which had promised a shorter sentence than if he is found guilty at the trial, which is expected to last one week.
Four other men with current or past residential ties to Maine have been charged with misdemeanors for breaching the Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot – Mitch Simon, from Minot, who now lives in Georgia; Nicholas Hendrix, from Gorham; Joshua Colgan, from Jefferson; and Todd Tilley, from South Paris.
Simon and Hendrix have pleaded guilty, and Simon received an eight-month prison sentence last Friday.
In the 19 months since the Capitol riot, federal prosecutors have won convictions in 12 of 13 criminal trials held and achieved 353 convictions through guilty pleas.
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