A Jan. 6 insurrectionist who is a member of the Proud Boys is headed back to jail after appearing on CNN and indicating that he would storm the Capitol again.
After Josh Pruitt made the comments on national TV earlier this month, federal prosecutors sought to revoke his pretrial release. In addition to Pruitt's unrepentant comments to CNN, prosecutors argued that he had violated his curfew numerous times, threatened people — including his ex-girlfriend — on social media, and violated his probation in non-Jan. 6-related cases.
On Thursday, Pruitt's attorney argued in court that the curfew violations occurred because he couldn't get rides home from work, according to a report from BuzzFeed News' Zoe Tillman. However, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly noted it wasn't the first time that Pruitt "has been admonished to comply with curfew and restrictions on his movement."
"I just don’t believe that he repeatedly is out there in the middle of the night for reasons that are beyond his control," Kelly said.
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Federal prosecutors "also noted Pruitt did an interview with CNN where, they argued, he made comments suggesting he didn't regret going into the Capitol/being part of the m(o)b," Tillman reported.
Pruitt reportedly disputed prosecutors' interpretation of his comments to CNN, alleging in court that "he was referring to protesting generally at the Capitol."
Judge Kelly "sounded skeptical of Pruitt's explanation of the meaning of his comments to CNN, although the judge also quipped, '(I)t wouldn't be the first time that CNN took something out of context and didn’t portray something accurately,'" according to Tillman.
Kelly ordered Pruitt to return to jail, giving him until Jan. 18 to self-surrender so he has time to wrap up his affairs — but added that he wouldn't be allowed to work.
At that point, Pruitt interjected and threatened to go on CNN again and accuse the judge of violating his First Amendment rights, according to Tillman.
After Pruitt continued to interrupt the judge, prosecutors said the exchange raised questions about whether he will self-surrender.
Pruitt insisted he would surrender, and Kelly told him he "will face a much bigger problem if he doesn't," Tillman reported. After Pruitt interrupted Kelly again, the judge raised his voice and told him "he abused the system and that's why they're here."
As attorneys discussed the status of discovery in Pruitt's case, he continued to make comments on the public phone line where the hearing occurred.
"Pruitt has apparently just discovered the public line, asks why that exists, everyone continues to ignore him at this point as they continue to discuss logistics," Tillman reported. "At the very end, Pruitt says something I can't fully make out but I hear the phrases 'law-abiding citizen' and 'unlike the BLM piece of sh*t' and then the automated voice on the public access line says 'goodbye' and that's a wrap."
Pruitt, a member of the Proud Boys who was living in DC at the time of the insurrection, has a long rap sheet, including 19 prior arrests and eight convictions, WUSA Channel 9 reported last week.
In fact, Pruitt was on probation and wearing an ankle monitor when he stormed the Capitol, where he fought with police and was seen on surveillance video throwing a “Quiet Please” sign across the atrium. He was arrested later that night for violating DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's curfew, but subsequently released under "a high-intensity supervision program" after being charged in the insurrection.
Read Tillman's full thread from the hearing below.
New: A judge has ordered another Jan. 6 defendant to jail for violating pretrial release conditions \u2014\u00a0Joshua Pruitt violated curfew on multiple occasions, and the govt also noted threatening comments he'd made via social media, probation violations in other non-Jan. 6 cases— Zoe Tillman (@Zoe Tillman) 1642108577
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