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Five Alabamians arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack await trials

The former lead of the Capitol attack investigation has said sedition charges are likely for some people connected to the attack.

Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington. (AP PHOTO/MANUEL BALCE CENETA)

The federal prosecutor who was leading the investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol says sedition charges are likely. Former interim U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin in a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS reiterated previous comments he’s made, that heavier charges are likely for some. 

“I personally believe the evidence is trending toward that, and probably meets those elements,” Sherwin said. “I believe the facts do support those charges. And I think that, as we go forward, more facts will support that.” 

U.S. law defines sedition as conspiring to overthrow the US government or to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States by force.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for District of Columbia has charged at least 19 people, members or associates of the far-right group Proud Boys, with federal crimes related to the attack, according to the Associated Press. Four of those have been charged with conspiracy connected to the failed insurrection. 

Several members of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers, have also been arrested and charged with crimes related to the attack, including one Alabama man. 

Joshua A. James

Joshua A. James, 33, of Arab is charged with obstructing an official proceeding and entering a restricted building after being caught in images inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors say James is one of the people dressed in body armor and military-style gear walking up the Capitol steps in an organized row, seen in widely-shared video. 

Photos taken on Jan. 5, the day before the Capitol siege, and published by ABC News, appear to show a man standing next to Roger Stone, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, wearing the same black hat with an Oath Keepers badge and an orange paracord on his shoulder, as detailed in an affidavit filed in Jones’s case that Jones was wearing in separate photos and video taken of him inside the Capitol during the attack. 

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Jones was arrested on March 9, and at a hearing on March 11 federal prosecutors presented evidence arguing Jones should be held without bond until trial, which a judge agreed to, according to court records. On March 12, Jones asked for a court-appointed attorney, according to those records. 

Lonnie Coffman

Lonnie Coffman, 70, of Falkville was found by police parked blocks from the U.S. Capitol the day of the attack. The truck was loaded with firearms, ammunition, a crossbow, smoke canisters and 11 Molotov cocktails also had handwritten notes with the names of a Democratic lawmaker, a federal appeals court judge and conservative commentators, denoting some as “bad guys” and some as “good guys,” according to court records. 

Coffman faces 17 federal charges. A status hearing was held in his case on March 17, where the possible need of a protective order was discussed, according to court records. Coffman asked for a new attorney during the hearing, and was later granted one. 

Coffman’s attorney, Manuel Retureta, declined comment when reached via email by APR on Tuesday. A trial date hasn’t been set, but a status hearing in the case is set for March 24. 

Joshua Matthew Black

Joshua Matthew Black, 44, of Leeds was arrested Jan. 10 and is charged with entering a restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct, according to the criminal complaint. Black does not appear to have a criminal record in the state of Alabama, according to a search of those records.

Images of a man wearing a red hat and camouflage jacket on the Senate floor, which were shared widely on social media following the attack, was of Black, according to an affidavit written by an FBI agent, posted to the DOJ’s website. 

“On January 8, 2021, an individual using the username “LetUs Talk” posted two videos on YouTube,” the affidavit states. In the two videos, Black, wearing a Trump hat, said he planned to turn himself in to the FBI once he uploaded the videos, and described his version of what happened on Jan. 6. 

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A U.S. Attorney handling the case submitted a court filing on March 6 informing the court and Black’s attorney that he had shared the federal government’s discovery material with Black’s attorney, which included photos of a knife taken during a search of Black, videos of Black’s interview with FBI agents on Jan. 8 and “1 set of data related to consent search of Mr. Black’s iPhone,” among other items, according to court records. 

Black is being held without bond until his trial date, which hasn’t yet been set. 

Phillip Andrew Bromley

Phillip Andrew Bromley, 47, of Sterrett, was arrested Feb. 17 and charged with unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct.

An FBI agent in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and the arrest of Bromley wrote that he was aware of a ProPublica website entitled “What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol,” which has a video of Bromley discussing his participation. 

“In his narrative of events on Video 1, BROMLEY states: ‘listen…everybody needs to know the truth.’ BROMLEY proceeds to describe how he ‘breached the right side,’ ‘went in,’ and ‘came to two large glass doors,’ the FBI agent wrote to the court. 

The FBI agent goes on to describe Bromley in the video discussing how he witnessed the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt by a Capitol police officer. Babbitt was shot while inside the Capitol and attempting to enter another sealed-off area, according to news accounts. 

“When he reached the doors, BROMLEY continues by stating he was talking with SWAT officers and reminding them ‘of their oath,’ at which time ‘a gunshot went off’ and a woman was ‘shot her in the neck,’” the court filing reads. “BROMLEY continues by stating it ‘did not look like a survivable wound’ and that ‘she [the woman who was shot] was eight feet in front of me on a line.’ BROMLEY further describes the clothing he observed the woman to be wearing when she was shot and states ‘they shot her and she is dead.'”

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Bromley can be seen inside the Capitol in several videos, according to the FBI agent. Bromley has been released on bond, according to court records. 

William Wright Watson

William Wright Watson, 23, of Auburn potentially faces federal charges of civil disorder, entering a restricted building with a dangerous weapon and violent entry or disorderly conduct, according to the criminal complaint filed in D.C district court. 

“Watson, while carrying a canister of mace, knowingly and willfully joined a crowd of individuals who forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol and impeded, disrupted, and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate,” said special agent Matthew Minshew, an FBI agent who interviewed Watson directly after his Jan. 11 arrest in Auburn, in court documents.

In the interview, Watson admits to carrying a can of mace and a pocket knife during the riots, using the knife to clear parts of the presidential inauguration scaffolding at the Capitol building to help the crowds moving up toward the building’s entrance.

He denies involvement in “any violence, trespassing, vandalism, or other ‘criminal activity,’” according to the Jan. 17 affidavit filed by federal officials.

Watson remained in custody at the Lee County Detention Center in Opelika on Tuesday, according to a detention center worker reached by phone. 

Kari Dawn Kelly

Kari Dawn Kelly, 40, of Mobile is charged with unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct, according to court records. 

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An FBI agent in an affidavit to the court wrote that Kelly was identified as someone who entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 by another person being interviewed by agents. She can be seen in a photo entering the building through a window, according to court records. 

Kelly on March 18 entered not guilty pleas for all four counts against her, according to court records. A status conference in her case is set for May 27.

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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