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Judge orders continued detention for Jan 6 riot defendant who sprayed police By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO. A crowd of Trump supporters fight law enforcers at the door that they bludgeoned as they stormed Washington’s U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, U.S.A, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File photo

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – A federal judge ordered Monday continued pretrial detention of a Pennsylvanian man accused of spraying a chemical irritant against police officers in the January 6th attack on the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.

Amy Berman Jackson (U.S. District Court Judge) stated she believed there was sufficient evidence to continue the detention for Samuel Lazar, 37-year-old felony riot suspect, from Ephrata. The prosecution claimed that he was obsessed with guns and Trump made false claims about his defeat in 2020.

Jackson stated that she was skeptical of Lazar’s provocation and aggressive statements, internet posts, and his use of tactical vest and goggles to approach police officers outside Capitol Building. Jackson added that Lazar claimed he had accidentally discovered a pepper spray can.

Lazar used the spray to “immediately armourize” it, according to the judge.

Jackson stated that the defendant refused to call the Capitol disorder in the which he was involved “a war” and that Jackson’s “bellicose attitude… contributes to the level concern.”

The government claimed that Lazar, who was wearing tactical goggles and a vest, made his way up to the top of the line of security officers guarding Capitol Hill and used the bullhorn to urge rioters to take police guns.

Prosecutors claimed that Lazar had “discharged an irritant chemical at three police officers”, and that he later “bragged about the macing of police in a video.”

Over 660 people were arrested for riot related charges in connection with the Capitol attack, in which Trump supporters tried to prevent Congress from recognising Joe Biden’s win in November.

Matthew Wilson was Lazar’s defense lawyer at a prior hearing. He described Lazar’s alleged behavior as an “abnormality” and recommended that Lazar be placed in home detention rather than being imprisoned.

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