New York resident Brandon Fellows, who is facing federal criminal charges stemming from his involvement in the January assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters, has been ordered to be kept in jail after a disastrous (for him) hearing where he attempted to serve as his own legal counsel and ended up admitting to additional felonious conduct in the process. Fellows’s current charges connected to the Capitol attack include obstruction of an official proceeding, which is a felony that can come with up to 20 years in prison (although much shorter sentences are possible). The felonious conduct to which Fellows glibly admitted during his recent court hearing involved obstruction of justice.
As recently reported by a D.C.-area CBS affiliate, Fellows “was initially granted pretrial release, but was ordered back into custody in June after repeated violations, including missing a court-ordered mental health evaluation and allegedly calling a probation officer’s mother.” At another point, Fellows was discovered to have put down the phone number for the judge’s wife’s office as his own. That move was uncovered when authorities attempted to get in touch with Fellows regarding his apparent harassment of a former girlfriend — and then he admitted to what amounted to obstruction of justice during that hearing, which centered on his bond.
Fellows explained that he had discussed what he called a “loophole” with his former public defender, Cara Halverson, which involved him getting in touch with the judge’s family to get them removed from the case. Presumably, Fellows’s potential contact with the judge’s family could create a potential conflict of interest on the judge’s part, creating the conditions for a new judge to be tasked with handling the proceedings — or at least, that’s the idea. As explained by WUSA, Fellows also said in court that in another case, he’d “intentionally put the phone number of another judge’s wife as his emergency contact in order to get a new judge.” In that instance, the judge on his case was replaced, and reporter Jordan Fischer explained that Fellows apparently credited the same so-called loophole with leading to that judge replacement.
Federal Judge Trevor McFadden tore into Fellows’s remarks in his eventual rebuttal. As the judge put it:
‘You are charged with a federal felony. This is not a community college where you get pats on the back… You’ve admitted to incredible lapses of judgment here on the stand, not least of which was seeking to disqualify a New York state judge. You’ve admitted to obstruction of justice in that case, and you’ve admitted to what was probably obstruction in this case in trying to have me disqualified, and only Ms. Halverson’s advice stopped you from doing so. You’ve engaged in a pattern of behaviors that shows contempt for the criminal justice system, and I just have no confidence that you will follow my orders if I release you.’
Fellows is one of well over 600 Trump supporters who have been criminally charged for their participation in the riot. While at the Capitol that day, Fellows apparently smoked marijuana in the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Read more on Fellows’s case at this link.