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An alleged Jan. 6th rioter is demanding a change in venue on the grounds that Washington, D.C. is a “Trump-hating” district where he can’t possibly receive a fair trial, in part because the feds have tainted the jury pool with their lies.
The alleged rioter, 20-year U.S. Navy veteran Thomas Edward Caldwell, is a Virginia resident who was charged with conspiring with the Oath Keepers militia. He is, in fact, the first rioter who was arrested over the Jan. 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Earlier this month, his attorney, David W. Fischer, filed a motion requesting that his client’s case be moved to another town — one not steeped in anti-Trump venom.
Read the motion here.
NEW: In a sweeping broadside at Washington, DC, residents, Oath Keeper conspiracy defendant Thomas Caldwell requests a venue change to the W. Dist. of Virginia b/c he “cannot receive a fair trial in the District” which he calls “prejudiced” & the “birthplace of the Resistance.” pic.twitter.com/NBbrqlidns
— Ken Bensinger (@kenbensinger) July 1, 2021
“The overwhelming majority of District residents despised Caldwell and his co-defendants before January 6th. District residents are overwhelmingly ‘progressive’ and anti-Trump. Only 5% of District residents voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, with most of that vote likely being Republican congressional staffers,” the motion reads.
“The Court can take judicial notice that with few exceptions, potential District jurors loathe Donald Trump and, by extension, his supporters. The antipathy towards Trump and his supporters in the District is obvious,” it adds.
According to Fischer, the district’s anti-Trump animus is also demonstrated in its notoriously violent anti-Trump behavior.
“Since Donald Trump was elected President in 2016, large numbers of District residents have engaged in both peaceful and violent protests targeted at Trump and his supporters. Inauguration Day 2016 saw violent protests in the District, with anti-Trump protesters destroying businesses, cars, and other property, and attacking Trump supporters,” the motion notes.
“The District is the birthplace of ‘The Resistance,’ which was a loosely organized movement among left-wing activists to thwart President Trump’s lawful executive orders and actions. ‘The Resistance’ was consistently hailed by local officials and lauded by the local press. Hardly a week went by during Trump’s presidency, moreover, without an anti-Trump protest outside the White House, Congress, the Trump Hotel, at local universities, and other District locales,” it continues.
All of this is true.
But D.C. residents are not the only ones at fault. So is the government and the media outlets and politicians that have propagated its lies, according to Fischer.
“The Government’s misleading charging papers have misinformed the public and caused unnecessary panic in the District, additionally tainting the potential jury pool. Most troubling was the Government’s incendiary—and highly inaccurate– suggestion in previous charging documents that Caldwell and Oath Keepers were chasing down members of Congress, trying to trap and kill them in the hallways of the Capitol,” the motion reads.
“Hundreds of television, radio, and newspaper reports in the District and around the country parroted the Government’s suggestion in charging documents that Caldwell and other defendants had, as part of their ‘attack plan’ on the Capitol, intended to execute members of Congress,” it continues.
Fischer argues that virtually everything that’s been alleged by the government and bandied about by the press is false, including claims that Caldwell is a white supremacist and claims that he’d been intent on killing people.
Further, he alleges that prosecutors have admitted some of this. As evidence, he points to a transcript of a discussion two months ago between a CBS News interviewer and former lead attorney Michael Sherwin.
The transcript reads as follows:
CBS News interviewer: “Was there a premeditated plan to breach the Capitol?”
Sherwin: “That’s what we’re trying to determine right now.”
This statement, according to Fischer, proves everything.
“[I]n its initial charging papers filed almost two months before Mr. Sherwin’s interview aired, the Government confidently swore that ‘CALDWELL planned with DONOVAN CROWL, JESSICA WATKINS, and others known and unknown, to forcibly storm the Capitol,'” he notes in the motion.
And so when Sherwin “authorized the filing of charging documents against Caldwell, he knowingly allowed the dissemination of the false and incendiary claim that Caldwell and others had a specific, premeditated plan to take the Capitol by force.”
Interestingly, Sherwin’s bombshell admission during the CBS News interview provoked outrage from local Justice Department officials over his honesty.
#CapitolRiot: Plugging into a meeting today called by federal Judge Amit P. Mehta about recent media coverage of the Oath Keepers case. Mehta says he was “surprised… and I’m being restrained in my terminology,” to see former U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin on 60 Minutes.
— Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) March 23, 2021
Mehta says he was concerned to see Sherwin talking about the case and about “specific evidence,” and says he will not hesitate to consider a gag order if similar things happen again. Also mentions a NYT story talking about possibility of sedition charges.
— Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) March 23, 2021
Sherwin was reportedly eventually referred to the Department of Justice ethics office for speaking about the case as if he was being punished for being honest.
Fischer concludes the motion by asking that Caldwell’s case be transferred specifically to the Western District of Virginia, Harrisonburg Divison.
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