KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Attorneys for the alleged Kansas City cell chief of the Proud Boys blamed former President Donald Trump for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, telling a federal magistrate judge that the five weeks since, “Have the fever dream broken. “
William Chrestman, an army veteran and union worker from Olathe, Kansas, remains in custody while the judge considers whether to release him for his trial. He is charged with conspiracy, obstructing official proceedings, threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer and other charges stemming from the melee.
Prosecutors are trying to keep him in custody, arguing that he poses a danger to the community and a flight risk. Defense attorneys claim that Chrestman will not flee, claiming that he poses no danger as he and the world around him have changed a lot since that day. They claim his arrest punished rather than encouraged him.
The FBI says three local men have been taken into custody in connection with the riot that took place in the Capitol on Jan. 6. Two are from Olathe and one from Blue Springs.
Judge James O’Hara, U.S. magistrate judge, said at a detention hearing on Wednesday that he would decide in a few days whether Chrestman would be released pending trial, the Kansas City Star reported.
“It is amazing to imagine storming the United States Capitol with sticks and flags and bear spray set up against armed and trained law enforcement officers. Only someone who thought they had official approval would even attempt such a thing. And a proud boy who had been paying close attention would love to believe he did, ”lawyers argued.
His lawyers argued in a lawsuit that the Proud Boys watched as their “pro-America, pro-capitalism and pro-Trump” rhetorical strategy empowered them to enter the Republican mainstream. They watched as police attacked Black Lives Matter and anti-fascism protesters, but brought Proud Boys and their allies to safety. They watched as their leader, Enrique Tarrio, was appointed state director of Latinos in Florida before Trump, they wrote.
The defense also argued that the Trump campaign was well aware of the organized participation of Proud Boys rallies that converge in Trump events. When then President Trump was given the opportunity to disown them in a presidential debate, Trump instead told them to “take a step back” – something they understand as “a call for arms and preparedness.”
“The five weeks since January 6 have broken the fever dream. The Proud Boys are ‘radioactive now’. Any air of respect has disappeared, ”the lawyers wrote. “The Proud Boys are in ‘disarray,’ as state chapters bicker the group’s chairman and leaders publicly and privately about the direction in which to take the Proud Boys.”