Federal judge Emmet Sullivan this week cited former President Donald Trump's recent statements about the 2020 election as a reason not to allow the release of a man who allegedly took part in the failed insurrection of Jan. 6.
In a 39-page opinion filed on Tuesday, Sullivan explained why he was denying the release of Jack Wade Whitton, who is charged with eight felonies and misdemeanors relating to the Jan. 6 events. Whitton is accused of "brutally" assaulting officers who were guarding the U.S. Capitol.
"[T]he Court concludes that clear and convincing evidence supports a finding that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of the community," Sullivan explains in the opinion. "Accordingly, the Court orders that Mr. Whitton be detained pending trial."
Sullivan goes on to cite recent statements made by Trump to bolster his point.
"Former President Donald J. Trump continues to make forceful public comments about the 'stolen election,' chastising individuals who did not reject the supposedly illegitimate results that put the current administration in place," the opinion states, noting that Trump had issued an April 4 statement about a "rigged" presidential election.
Sullivan adds: "As was true in Mr. [Jeffrey Sabol's] case, such comments reflect the continued threat posed by individuals like Mr. Whitton, who has demonstrated that he is willing and able to engage in extreme and terrifying levels of violence against law enforcement with a chilling disregard for the rule of law and the lives of law enforcement, seemingly based on mistaken beliefs about the illegitimacy of the current administration. In this regard, Mr. Whitton, like Mr. Sabol, is distinguishable from other Capitol Riot defendants who displayed a dangerous distain for democracy and the rule of law on January 6, 2021, but who did not engage in violence... or who did not direct their 'forceful conduct' toward inflicting injury."
"Accordingly, the government's motion for revocation of Magistrate Judge Cannon's release order is GRANTED. Mr. Whitton shall be detained pending trial," the opinion concludes.
!! WHOA: In the order to keep accused US Capitol rioter Jack Whitton in jail pending trial, DC federal judge Emmet Sullivan specifically cites Donald Trump as reason
**** Trump's Easter tweet & continued "forceful comments" make defendants a threat **** pic.twitter.com/GESUpjMr5P
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) April 21, 2021