By Zachary Stieber
A growing number of people charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol are requesting trial delays so they can review newly disclosed footage.
Shane Jenkins became one of the latest defendants when he filed a motion through an attorney to delay the trial due to the disclosure of some 41,000 hours of security footage from Jan. 6, 2021.
“Mr. Jenkins requests that his trial currently set to begin on March 21, 2023, be moved so defense counsel can review the additional discovery,” Dennis Boyle, the attorney, wrote in the motion.
Republicans, having taken control of the House of Representatives in January, disclosed the footage to Fox News and said they were granting access to any defendants who want to view the video.
The tranche includes some 25,000 hours of footage that Jenkins hasn’t been able to review, according to the new filing.
“The request for additional time is necessary in order to adequately and diligently review all discovery pertaining to Mr. Jenkins and to determine whether any video contains relevant and material information that would pertain to Mr. Jenkins’ defense. Video evidence depicting Mr. Jenkins would constitute both exculpatory and material evidence, which would require disclosure from the government,” Boyle said. “Due to the large amount of video being released, and because Mr. Jenkins is currently incarcerated, we request additional time to review the information and prepare for trial.”
Government prosecutors oppose the request.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, the Obama appointee overseeing the case, hasn’t ruled on the motion yet.
Jenkins has been charged with physical violence in the Capitol grounds or building and disorderly conduct, among other charges.
William Pope, another defendant, told the court in a separate filing that he lacks access to “more than 99 percent of discovery” even though more than two years have elapsed since he was arrested.
Prosecutors have opposed making much of the footage available because the legislative branch was the original owner of the evidence, Pope wrote. “However, now that the Legislative Branch has given defendants their blessing to have due process access to legislative files, the government’s already weak argument to deny due process has collapsed. This court should immediately grant me full access to discovery,” he wrote.
If the government continues to deny Pope access to discovery necessary for his defense, the case should be dismissed, Pope argued. He has been charged with civil disorder and other charges.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, another Obama appointee, is overseeing the Pope case. During a status hearing after the filing was lodged, Contreras delayed a trial in order to give the government time to respond to a different motion, which asks the judge to unseal footage from three undercover officers on Jan. 6, 2021.
Ryan Nichols, a third defendant, recently asked the court to delay his trial until his attorneys, and crowdsourced helpers, review the newly disclosed footage.
“Defendant’s position is simple and straightforward: there is no justifiable reason why this newly available evidence had not been made available before today—thus, any possible prejudice to the prosecution from a continuance is dwarfed by Defendant’s constitutional right to defend himself,” Nichols said through his lawyers. He’s been charged with physical violence, obstruction, and other charges.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan appointee overseeing the case, hasn’t ruled on the matter yet.
Another defendant, Sara Carpenter, saw her request to delay her trial in light of the recent developments denied.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, the Obama appointee overseeing the case, rejected the motion during a March 3 hearing.
Carpenter’s lawyers had argued that the surveillance disclosed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) “is far in excess of what was previously disclosed by the government and known to exist” and that, while the government had disclosed some footage, “there remain temporal gaps in the footage thus far provided between the moments Ms. Carpenter is shown entering and exiting the Capitol.”
The government asserted that trial extensions shouldn’t be granted “on the unsupported allegation that pertinent information may exist somewhere, but is not currently known to either the prosecution or the defense.”
Boasberg said Carpenter failed to show that the previously undisclosed footage would prove exculpatory, Politico reported. He said that allowing a delay for defendants could “derail dozens of trials that are set in the next few months.”
Carpenter has been indicted on three counts, including knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
‘Not Gotten My Evidence’
Rachel Powell, another Jan. 6, 2021, defendant, who’s facing more than a half dozen charges, said that she hasn’t received evidence crucial to her case.
McCarthy had told reporters that defendants had access to footage before.
“I am a J6 defendant and have not gotten my evidence even though it has been over two years,” Powell told The Epoch Times via email. “So when McCarthy says January 6 defendants have had access to the evidence he is wrong and possibly lying.”
She was preparing a motion to delay her trial.
William Shipley, a lawyer representing multiple defendants, wrote on Twitter that attorneys have access to thousands of hours of footage but that the Department of Justice (DOJ) database didn’t include footage that Congress didn’t give to the agency.
“If Congress … held back video then DOJ would not have it to put in the database,” he wrote. “It is not possible to say definitively right now that defense attorneys did — in fact — have all the videos that Tucker/Fox is showing. McCarthy says he gave Fox everything. That might include videos not given to DOJ.”