The Oath Keepers sedition trial continues Thursday and Daily Kos is back at the federal courthouse in the nation’s Capital to cover proceedings.
There was a brief break in the schedule this week since the court was closed on Wednesday in observance of Yom Kippur. But on Thursday, the Justice Department hit the ground running with a request for U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta: the admission of a “death list” found at the property of defendant Thomas Caldwell.
Following hours of testimony from FBI Special Agent Michael Palian and cross-examination by attorneys for the defendants earlier this week, the Justice Department says several remarks made by Caldwell’s attorney David Fischer during questioning opened a door that once was shut.
In August, during a lengthy pretrial conference prosecutors sought to admit a handwritten “death list” found at Caldwell’s Virginia home. The list featured the names of two election workers from Georgia who were harassed repeatedly during the 2020 election as former President Donald Trump and his supporters smeared them with accusations of election fraud.
Judge Mehta ruled that the list should be excluded from evidence because—disturbing it may be—it still didn’t bear a strong enough connection to the actual charges. In particular, Mehta warned it might be over-inflammatory to jurors.
But during the cross-examination of FBI Special Agent Palian, the Justice Department now argues that Caldwell’s attorney went over the line. Fischer underplayed and potentially misrepresented the allegedly incriminating evidence found during a search of Caldwell’s home and he did this by painting Caldwell to be solely focused on potential threats to the public by supporters of the “antifa” or antifascist movement.
Per the motion from the Justice Department filed on Oct. 6:
“For instance, counsel asked several questions about the FBI’s review of Caldwell’s “computer, phones,and other correspondence,”and whether the FBI located “any maps that led people tolawmakers’ houses or residences?” More pointedly, he later asked “would you agree you got it wrong when you thought that Mr. Caldwell – his prestrike recce had something to do with stopping an election?” Referring to an “op plan” found on one of Caldwell’s computers and referenced in one of his notepads recovered by the FBI, Caldwell’s counsel asked,“So the whole entire op plan you’ve been referencing, or the government’s been bringing up regarding Mr. Caldwell appears to be something regarding Antifa; correct?”
The point of these and other questions was to suggest to the jury that the materials found on Caldwell’s computer and notepad recovered at his house concerned innocuous topics like bathrooms and“antifa,” rather than anything to do with “stopping an election.” But the “death list,” also found in Caldwell’s correspondence in his house, is incriminating and directly relates to“stopping an election.” And so it should now be admissible to rebut Caldwell’s false impressionto the jury that nothing came of the FBI’s search of his residence as it relates to his intent and the current charges.”
It will be another long day in court with the potential for new witnesses to take the stand. If you missed what happened on Day 2, check out the related link below. Live updates will post here in this blog and on Twitter.
Proceedings are now underway and for the first order of business: Judge Mehta has denied the government’s request to admit the “death list” allegedly penned by defendant Thomas Caldwell into evidence.