Federal Judge Beryl Howell, who serves as chief judge of the D.C. District Court, has ordered the continued pre-trial detention of Capitol rioter Cody Mattice after an emergency request from the Justice Department for Howell to do so. Mattice had previously received an authorization for his release from a different judge, but that authorization is on hold while Howell examines relevant arguments. As summarized by a D.C.-area CBS affiliate, “Mattice and his friend, James Mault, of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were arrested earlier this month on felony charges alleging they assaulted police with pepper spray during the January 6 Capitol riot.” The two could also be seen toppling police barricades, which would have helped other rioters access police and the Capitol.
Notably, Mault has separately been ordered by a different judge to be kept in detention ahead of his trial, so there’s what would seem to be a precedent for jail-time that’s relevant in Mattice’s case. Although the first trial connected to the Capitol riot is slated to take place next month, it’s not immediately clear when trial proceedings for Mault and Mattice could take place, meaning that the prospect of pre-trial detention means a possibility of indefinite jail-time at present.
Mattice put forward an utterly ridiculous argument in his defense following his original apprehension earlier this month. In short, he claimed to authorities that, rather than using pepper spray against police officers, he was “using pepper spray against other rioters to stop them from attacking police officers.” The Justice Department has characterized this claim as “transparently false.” The falsity and the accompanying refusal to take even a basic level of responsibility for his actions certainly don’t help the case that he wouldn’t be a danger to the community if released from prison. What if Trump incites another incident like January 6? How many of his emboldened supporters would turn out for such a display of violence?
Besides the obvious ridiculousness of Mattice’s claim that the pepper spray that he deployed was meant for members of the riot crowd, he also boasted via text that he and Mault got “everyone to push through the police,” adding: “me and James fought through the police line on the door step of Capitol hill lmao.” In other words, he essentially straight-up admitted to targeting police. During the violence, scores of officers — totaling at least 140 personnel — were injured by the rampage. Well over 600 Trump supporters have been hit with federal criminal charges for their parts in the events of that day.