Stories Chosen For You
A Maine man was convicted on multiple counts for attacking police officers during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Kyle Fitzsimons, of Lebanon, was convicted by U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in a bench trial of felony civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding and using a dangerous or deadly weapon on an officer, reported NBC News correspondent Ryan Reilly.
\u201cNew: Judge finds Jan. 6 defendant Kyle Fitzsimons GUILTY of felony civil disorder, GUILTY of obstruction of an official proceeding. Judge still going through the rest of the charges.\u201d— Ryan J. Reilly (@Ryan J. Reilly) 1664289761
The 38-year-old Fitzimons claimed during the trial that he acted in defense of a "woman in red" who had been punched by police during the melee, but the judge said he wouldn't have been able to see that because she was too far away and obscured by officers' shields.
Fitzsimons was accused of attacking Detective Phuson Nguyen and Officer Sarah Beaver of the Metropolitan Police Department, and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the Capitol police, and all three testified against him at trial.
Nguyen testified that Fitzsimons pulled off his gas mask while another rioter aimed chemical spray toward his face, and when Fitzsimons snapped the mask back into place the detective fell to the ground choking.
Beaver told the court that she had been vomited on and struck with bear spray when she was struck on the helmet by a bow, which prosecutors say Fitzsimons brought to the Capitol.
Gonell testified that Fitzsimons grabbed his shield so hard that the officer later required surgery for a torn muscle.
Embattled Trump-appointed DHS inspector was given phones of Secret Service agents in July, raising ‘new questions’: report
Senior Secret Service leadership confiscated the cell phones of 24 agents and handed them over to the embattled Trump-appointed Inspector General of the Dept. of Homeland Security as he was launching his criminal investigation into the deleted text message scandal. The Secret Service, DHS, and former Trump officials at the Pentagon have been under fire after the IG, Joseph Cuffari, belatedly revealed texts from January 5 and 6, 2021, had been deleted.
"The agency handed over the phones 'shortly after' a July 19 letter was sent by Inspector General Joseph Cuffari’s office," NBC News reports.
"The revelation that Cuffari’s office has had access to the phones since late July or August raises new questions about the progress of his criminal investigation into the missing text messages and what, if anything, the public may be able to learn about communications between agents on Jan. 6, 2021," NBC adds.
Cuffari reportedly learned in December of 2021 that the cell phones of Secret Service agents directly involved in protective operations on the day of the insurrection, had been wiped and text messages deleted. He did not report this to Congress until July of 2022, despite his staff taking action.
CNN, however, has reported Cuffari actually learned of the deleted texts in May of 2021, which if accurate would mean he waited more than a year to inform Congress. Nor did he inform the National Archives, which is required by law to retain those records.
Cuffari has been seen by some as covering for Trump loyalists. His own staff is calling for his firing.
"Department of Homeland Security (DHS) watchdog staff recently called on President Joe Biden to remove their boss, Inspector General Joseph Cuffari, according to a blistering letter obtained by the Project On Government Oversight," POGO reported last week. "'The highest priorities of an inspector general are integrity and independence,' states the letter. 'IG Cuffari and his inner circle of senior leaders have fallen short in these areas time and time again.'"
In April of 2021 The Washington Post reported Cuffari "blocked investigations proposed by career staff last year to scrutinize the [Secret Service's] handling of the George Floyd protests in Lafayette Square and the spread of the coronavirus in its ranks, according to documents and people with knowledge of his decisions."
Noted political scientist Norman Ornstein, who sits on the POGO board, in late July called the situation a “coverup of treason.”
POGO, he wrote, "has been calling for a long time for the resignation of DHS IG Joseph Cuffari. He sat on the information of missing texts from the top DHS 'acting' officials, put there by Trump to do his bidding. Stinks to high heaven. Coverup of treason."
A woman who has been charged for illegally entering the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021 is now serving as a "county captain" for Trump-endorsed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker's campaign.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Mandy Robinson-Hand was listed earlier this year as a captain by Walker's campaign even though she was arrested this past March and charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct, and unlawful demonstrating at the Capitol.
Robinson-Hand, who also serves as the chairwoman of the Taylor County Republican Party, entered the Capitol on January 6th alongside her husband, Charles Hand III, who was also arrested.
Federal law enforcement officials identified the couple through closed circuit camera footage, and also had an assist from a tipster who pointed them to social media posts Charles Hand made about the riots.
"We’re in the capital (sic). Taking our house back,” Hand wrote in one post. “We’ve Been tear gassed etc.”
And Robinson-Hand isn't the only controversial pick for Walker campaign team captain, as the campaign also lists Kay Godwin, a Georgia activist who is currently being investigated by the Fulton County District Attorney's Office for serving as one of the state's fake pro-Trump electors.
Walker's campaign did not respond to AJC requests for comment.