Judge Takes Oath Keeper Lawyer To Task During Intense Exchange

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Federal Judge Amit Mehta isn’t impressed by what he called “moralizing and sermonizing” on the part of the legal representation for Kelly Meggs, a Florida resident and Capitol rioter who’s one of those tied to the far-right group known as the Oath Keepers to have since been charged with seditious conspiracy. In a court document, Mehta wrote that Meggs’s lawyer is hereby “admonished to keep the moralizing and sermonizing out of his motions,” adding: “His motions must be tailored to the actual relief sought and must avoid commentary on unrelated matters (e.g., the actions of the Select Committee and the prosecution of Oliver North) or unbriefed requests for relief (e.g., dismissal of charges or a change of venue). These proceedings will not become a platform for counsel’s personal political views.”

Mehta noted after his comments about Meggs’s lawyer’s “moralizing” that failing to “abide by this direction in the future may result in sanctions.” This occasion isn’t the first instance where Mehta has ended up providing a reality check to Meggs’s legal representation. Late last year, Mehta flatly rejected a request from lawyers for Meggs and fellow Oath Keeper Kenneth Harrelson to file a 145-page argument asking for their clients to be released from pretrial detention on the basis that they’d allegedly faced inappropriate pressure at the D.C. jail where they’ve been held to get vaccinated against COVID-19. At the time, the D.C. jail did not have any requirement for detainees to get vaccinated. Mehta told the lawyers that the “court will not allow this case to become a forum for bombastic arguments or propagating fringe views about Covid-19 or vaccinations.”

Attorneys Brad Geyer and Jonathon Moseley, who were behind the failed effort to get that lengthy argument — which exceeded the page limit for such a thing — filed, appeared to have been planning to compare alleged pressure to get vaccinated to the Holocaust. An outline of the proposed filing included headings like “SCOTUS Could Not Have Foreseen the Holocaust,” “A Human Experiment Unlike Any Other,” and “Forced or Coerced Medical Experimentation on Prisoners is Forbidden.” No one has been trying to conduct forced or coerced medical experimentation on Meggs or Harrelson. The whole thing just reeks of desperation. Meggs is facing charges that could apparently leave him with up to decades in prison, if convicted — seditious conspiracy alone comes with up to 20 years in jail, if found guilty. Meggs has also been charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging their duties, and more.

Featured Image (edited): via Blink o’fanaye on Flickr and available under a Creative Commons License