DOJ tries to stonewall records request on FBI informant embedded in Jan. 6 defense team

Daily Caller News Foundation

The Justice Department (DOJ) Thursday decried Jan. 6 defendant Zachary Rehl’s request to release any DOJ reporting records about the defense team, the day after the defense learned that a subpoenaed witness had been an FBI informant, court filings show.

Rehl, a former local Proud Boys leader, is standing trial with the group’s former national chairman Enrique Tarrio and members Ethan, Joseph Biggs and Dominic Pezzola for alleged seditious conspiracy and other charges in an indictment accusing them of conspiring “to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force.” After the government said Wednesday that an individual scheduled to appear in the trial as a defense witness had served as an FBI confidential human source from April 2021 to January 2023, Rhel’s attorney Carmen Hernandez filed a motion demanding that the government disclose all FBI or DOJ reports, recordings, and memoranda about “any reporting on and recordings of the defense team.”

The DOJ’s Thursday response filing denied the existence of any such reports, recordings or memoranda, despite admitting the source told the FBI around Jan. 9 that she had been subpoenaed to testify in the case and already participated in a deposition. The DOJ contended that the source’s FBI reporting only became relevant in the case after Tarrio’s defense announced on Wednesday that they intended to draw evidence related to the reporting and call her to testify.

GOVERNMENT’S RESPONSE TO ZACHARY REHL’S MOTION by Daily Caller News Foundation on Scribd

The source communicated with one or more defense lawyers, participated in prayer meetings with one or more defendant’s family and talked with one of the defendant’s family members about replacing one of the defense counsel, but the DOJ claimed the government only learned this information after telling the defense team Wednesday she had been an FBI source.

The source had first provided the FBI with information in the fall of 2019, and gave them information partly related to the Jan. 6 events before being officially designated a confidential human source, FBI San Antonio Special Agent Kristina Spindel said in a March 23 sworn statement attached to the DOJ’s filing. Spindel denied that the FBI had asked the source about knowledge of Tarrio or the other defendants, tasked her with communicating with the defendants or their lawyers or told her to gather information about them.

“The FBI was never provided information about any contact or communications that [the source] may have had with the defendants or their counsel in this matter,” Spindel claimed. The agent said the FBI terminated its source relationship with the source around Jan. 18.

The D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office sent the Daily Caller News Foundation a copy of the March 23 court filing when asked for comment.

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