Suspected Woodland Park militia member held on charges in Capitol riot

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President Donald Trump gestures at a campaign rally in support of U.S. Senate candidates Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., and David Perdue in Dalton, Ga., Monday, Jan. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

DENVER  |  A suspected militia member from Colorado arrested in connection with the deadly U.S. Capitol riot will be kept in federal custody at the request of federal prosecutors following his initial court appearance on Tuesday.

Robert Gieswein, 24, of Woodland Park appeared by video during a brief hearing in federal court in Denver a day after turning himself into local authorities. Magistrate Judge Scott T. Varholak set another hearing for Friday for prosecutors to make their case for why Gieswein should continue to be held behind bars while the criminal case against him in Washington proceeds.

Gieswein’s lawyer, Assistant Federal Defender Matthew Belcher, did not object to the standard delay to allow the government time to present evidence explaining why Gieswein should be detained. Gieswein only spoke in response to Varholak’s questions making sure he understood his rights.

According to court documents, Gieswein appears to be a member of the Three Percenters militia group, which advocates for resistance to government policies it believes infringe on individual rights, and is also believed to run a private paramilitary training group called the Woodland Wild Dogs.

He allegedly assaulted and intimidated U.S. Capitol Police officers with items including a spray canister and baseball bat and was in a crowd that entered the Capitol by force, according to an affidavit supporting the charges against him.

The most serious of the five crimes Gieswein is charged with, obstruction of a federal proceeding, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He is also charged with assault on a federal officer, aiding and abetting the destruction of a federal property, violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering and remaining in the Capitol building without lawful authority.

Another Colorado man arrested on less serious charges, Patrick Montgomery of Littleton, also appeared during the hearing. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Martinez did not ask that he continue to be held. Varholak ordered him to be released under a series of conditions, including not possessing firearms and not traveling to Washington except when necessary for his court case.

Montgomery is charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, which carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison, and willfully parading, demonstrating or picketing at the Capitol, which carries a maximum penalty of a six months in prison.

 

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