On Friday, federal Judge Trevor McFadden ruled that Capitol rioter Robert Morss was to remain in custody ahead of further proceedings. Morss is facing a slew of serious criminal charges in connection to his actions at the Capitol in January, where he is accused of assaulting police officers and participating in the theft of government property, among other offenses. As summarized by a Justice Department press release from this June that announced Morss’s original arrest, he apparently “led an assault on police and organized support from other rioters,” and in the time since, he has — by all appearances — demonstrated a lack of remorse for his actions.
Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Morss is apparently charged with 53 counts in connection to the Capitol violence. As that newspaper summarizes, the defendant and his legal representation alleged “that he has been subjected to poor treatment in jail and cited his military service, his lack of criminal record, a pending job in the Washington area and an offer of a place to live with a fellow veteran” as supports for their argument to grant Morss’s release, but ultimately, the judge refused to go along with the idea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Jackson reiterated the previous observation from the Justice Department that Morss acted as a leader amid the storming of the Capitol complex. As she put it:
‘Every person who was present without authority in the Capitol on January 6 contributed to the chaos of that day and the danger posed to law enforcement, the United States Vice President, members of Congress, and the peaceful transfer of power. However, Morss violently led that effort and thus his specific conduct aggravated that chaos and danger… In short, Morss came prepared for violence… His actions inherently prove he is a danger to the community at large, and the law enforcement officers who stand in the way of his ideological beliefs, whose safety can only be assured by his detention.’
In undated remarks that authorities found in Morss’s iCloud account, he wrote to a hypothetical judge that “You ask if I regret my involvement and what happened on the sixth my answer is [a] resounding no” — so there’s clearly a continuing issue here that’s somewhat different from the rioters who have, in fact, expressed some level of remorse for their actions. As for the specifics of his apparent partial leadership of certain elements of the Capitol violence, that earlier Justice Department press release explained how Morss could be seen on surveillance footage “directly confronting officers, pulling against their shields and passing the stolen shields back into the crowd.” Soon after, Morss called out for bystanders holding stolen riot shields to form a “shield wall.”
Overnight, the Senate confirmed Biden’s 40th judge — the most since Reagan, who also got 40 judges confirmed in his first year. Biden’s confirmed judges also far surpass the number of judges Trump got confirmed in his first year (18)
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) December 18, 2021