As the nation continues to grapple with the fallout from the deadly January violence at the Capitol, federal Judge Royce Lamberth is standing by his decision to keep riot participant and Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell in custody ahead of his trial. The Proud Boys, alongside the Oath Keepers, are one of two prominent and violent far-right groups whose members have faced federal criminal charges connected to the Capitol violence.
Lamberth issued a new ruling outlining some of his reasoning underlying Worrell’s detention this week after Worrell’s lawyer John Pierce wrote that his client was supposedly “suffering in jail and has been unable to get the medical attention he needs for his life-threatening cancer.” Lamberth wrote in his new ruling that he found the claims to be “without merit,” explaining that “Contrary to defendant’s characterizations, the record reflects that he has received attentive medical care for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, COVID-19, and other ailments while in custody.”
Lamberth also cited threats that Worrell issued via Facebook towards the individual who he believed had “ratted” him out to federal authorities. In a post on his Facebook profile, Worrell wrote — in all caps — that “WHOMEVER CALLED THE ‘FEDS’ ON ME REST ASSURED I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WE WILL BE DISCUSSING THIS SOON!!” That language obviously suggests that Worrell could pose a significant community danger if allowed to leave federal custody. Additionally, unlike some of the defendants in Capitol riot-tied cases, Worrell has been alleged to have actively perpetrated violence while at the Capitol premises that day, adding to the case for his detention. He apparently deployed chemical spray against police officers on the scene.
Originally, ahead of this new ruling from Lamberth, Pierce “renewed the accused rioter’s most recent motion for pretrial release after receiving an unfavorable ruling from the D.C. Court of Appeals,” Law & Crime explains. In that appeals court’s upholding of the lower court’s previous ruling for Worrell to remain behind bars, the three-judge panel on the appeals court participating in the case noted, in reference to Worrell, that the “dangerousness determination is further buttressed by the threats against others—including potential witnesses—that [Worrell] indicated to the FBI, as well as his membership in and alleged coordination with the Proud Boys, some of whose members have been indicted for conspiring to attack Congress.” Now that Worrell’s subsequent attempt to nevertheless get released has failed, it’s not immediately clear when his trial might unfold.