The sheer shock of January 6th, 2021 still exists in the minds of many Americans, as we continue to process the stark and startling imagery of the day.
As this experiential unraveling continues, and we are able to take a more discerning look as time dulls the terror of it all, we begin to find that not is all that it seemed on that fateful day. Stories from the trials of those arrested in connection with the violence of J6 are shedding light on some rather peculiar circumstances surrounding the event.
At least 10 and possibly up to 15 FBI informants were embedded in the group months before and continuing after the events of January 6. Informants participated in numerous group chats, cozied up to leadership, and even accompanied the Proud Boys to Washington.
One known informant, according to a September 2021 New York Times report, was involved in the first breach of Capitol grounds and entered the building that afternoon.
There’s a reason that this is largely under-reported:
But prosecutors and Judge Timothy Kelly have tried their best to prevent the public from learning the full scope of the FBI’s involvement. The docket is littered with sealed hearings and filings; prosecutors presented to the defense team heavily redacted reports related to FBI informants just before the trial began.
“Everything has been done under cover,” one defense attorney recently complained in court. A consortium of major news corporations also knocked Kelly this week for holding “sealed hearings and exclud[ing] the press and public from attending proceedings in this high-profile case.”
Kelly also took the highly unusual and prejudicial step of requiring the defense to “pre-clear” questions with prosecutors before asking a witness about the use of informants—but information is slowly trickling as the defense finally gets their turn.
In fact, the presence these agents has twice disrupted the trial.
For the second time this month, Kelly suspended the trial on Wednesday after prosecutors confessed that a key witness for the defense, who was scheduled to testify on Thursday, had worked as an FBI informant during the entire investigation. Although prosecutors have known for months that the defense might call this person as a witness, they waited until the last minute to tell defense attorneys, who were blindsided by the news.
It got worse from there. A bombshell motion filed by the defense shortly after the disclosure revealed the informant cozied up to defendants and their attorneys for more than 20 months—from April 2021 until January 2023 when the trial began.
“During this period of time, the CHS (confidential human source) has been in contact via telephone, text messaging and other electronic means, with one or more of the counsel for the defense and at least one defendant,” wrote Carmen Hernandez, the public defender representing Zachary Rehl. “During this period of time, the CHS also participated in prayer meetings with members of one or more of the defendants’ families. The CHS also engaged in discussions with one of the defendant’s family members about replacing one of the defense counsel. The above may not include all the communications that were initiated by or engaged in by the CHS.”
Hernandez demanded “all recordings or reports that it may have regarding the defense team, all interview reports or FBI memos relating to the recording or reporting of the defense team, and all internal memos prepared by the United States Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice attorneys relating to any reporting on and recordings of the defense team.”
The possibility of federal agitators has been a hotly debated topic during the numerous J6 investigations that have occurred, and this latest revelation will almost certainly reinvigorate the argument.
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