Jurors deciding the fate of an alleged January 6 rioter are wondering if he has access to their personal details.
Brandon Fellows has been charged with entering a restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct over his part in the 2021 riot.
In a note from the jury dated 30 August at 11.08am, the jury wrote: “We wanted to confirm that the defendant does not have any personal information on individual jurors, since he was defending himself. Includes name, address, etc.”
The note, shared on social media by Kyle Cheney of Politico on Thursday, includes a response from Judge Trevor McFadden, stating “both parties are given limited biographical information on prospective jurors at the outset of the trial. The court collects these sheets from the parties at the conclusion of the trial”.
“Judges -- including Judge Tanya Chutkan -- have openly remarked that court personnel get threats, while handling Jan 6 cases And certainly-- some of us journalists experience harassment. This note is quite striking,” Scott MacFarlane of CBS News wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
“Jury service is noble. You miss major family commitments. You can’t tend to your job and your employer. You sit without a phone or a cup of coffee for 6-8 hours in an uncomfortable, contentious courtroom. Then you have to learn to work with 11 strangers,” he added.
This comes after Fellows told the judge in the case that he “felt very comfy” sitting in a senator’s seat during the insurrection – before he was later held in criminal contempt of court and sentenced to five months in prison.
As his trial drew to a close on Tuesday, Fellows took the stand and was asked by the judge about the moment he plopped himself at the desk seat of Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley.
“I didn’t know it was a senator’s desk. It felt very comfy,” Fellows reportedly told US District Judge McFadden, a Donald Trump appointee.
“We had to take the election back. It was stolen,” he added.
Fellows is also accused of smoking marijuana inside the senator’s hideaway office.
The rioter recounted his thought process back on that day, saying he believed he was fighting “the corrupt government” before clarifying that he didn’t participate in any violence.
“It’s the people’s house,” Fellows told the court. “We had the right to overthrow it.”
According to NBC News, Judge McFadden told Fellows that he believed he had given up his right to a rebuttal because he had dodged answering yes-or-no questions during the government’s cross-examination.
“I would expect nothing less from a kangaroo court,” Fellows responded.
Judge McFadden then found Fellows in criminal contempt of court, sentencing him to “five months incarceration” with jury deliberations in his trial beginning on 30 August.
According to the affidavit, Fellows told a reporter in the aftermath of the Capitol riot: “Yeah we went in there and then I walked in and there’s just a whole bunch of people lighting up in some Oregon room...they were smoking a bunch of weed in there.”
Fellows also said that the “cops are very cool, they were like hey guys have a goodnight, some of them, which is crazy, it’s really weird, you can see that some of them were on our side”.
The affidavit also stated that on 12 January 2021, a witness provided screenshots from Fellows’ Facebook account, showing that Fellows wrote under his profile picture: “We took the Capitol and it was glorious.”
Fellows’ incarceration comes as the sentencing hearings for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and prominent member Ethan Nordean over their roles in the Capitol riot were abruptly postponed on Wednesday.
The sudden change of schedule came minutes before the sentencing was due to start. US District Judge Tim Kelly, who presided over the nearly four-month trial, appeared to be out sick.
Tarrio’s sentencing is now scheduled for 2pm on 5 September, while Nordean will be sentenced at 2pm on 1 September.