A judge on Monday granted an extension in the case of an Alabama man charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and the prosecuting attorney left the door open for a possible plea deal.
U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Paul Friedman gave a 90-day extension in the case of Phillip Andrew Bromley of Sterrett. Bromley is charged with unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William Dreher during the hearing Monday told the judge that the government has produced much of the discovery to Bromley’s attorney, but that there remains work to do to ensure attorney-client privileged material on Bromley’s cell phone is handled properly before that evidence can be presented to the defense.
“There’s a built-in process that’s been set up with a separate team of agents and attorneys,” Dreher said. “And just given the number of devices, obviously, across these investigations that is taking a little bit longer than that it would, sort of a one-off case.”
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.’”
Bromley, who is free on bail, was asked by the judge during the hearing Monday if he understands that he has a right to a speedy trial, and is giving up that right for the 90-day extension.
“Yes judge,” Bromely replied.
The judge also asked Dreher whether, during the discovery process, the government may offer Bromley a plea deal, to which Dreher said “yes. That’s correct.”
A plea deal, which Bromley would admit guilt to certain crimes on condition of a sentence more in his favor, would be rare among those charged with the attack on the Capitol.
Of the more than 440 people facing criminal charges connected to the attack just one had plead guilty as of May 21, according to Reuters, which reported that the lack of more such plea deals was a sign the government wasn’t ready to back away from seeking harsher sentences.
One other, Paul Hodgkins of Tampa, who had no prior criminal convictions, plead guilty to obstructing the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, becoming the first charged to admit guilt without agreeing to substantially help the government in the investigation, according to CNN. Hodgkins’s felony conviction comes with a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Josh Bustle and his wife, Jess Bustle, of Virginia also pled guilty on Monday to misdemeanor charges of parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol building on Jan. 6, according to Politico.
At least 10 Alabamians are charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in five deaths.