Prosecutors blame ‘extraordinary amounts of evidence’ for slow pace in Jan. 6 cases

Georgia woman, mother of 'zip tie guy' arrested on federal charges after Capitol attack
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Georgia woman, mother of 'zip tie guy' arrested on federal charges after Capitol attack

Indiana woman becomes first defendant sentenced in Capitol riot.

Federal prosecutors say they are still processing mountains of evidence in hundreds of cases stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The unprecedented scale of the investigation, which involves more than 450 defendants, has meant individual cases are moving slowly.

In a hearing Wednesday involving Georgia resident Lisa Eisenhart and her son, Eric Munchel, a representative from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said they are processing “extraordinary amounts of evidence” in the case.

The evidence includes thousands of citizen tips submitted to the FBI and prosecutors were not yet ready to offer a possible plea deal to the defendants, who face eight criminal counts for their alleged role in the pro-Trump riot, the representative said.

Eisenhart and Munchel, both of whom were arrested in the days following the attack, are accused of entering the Capitol as part of a mob that forced their way past multiple barricades and police lines. Social media posts showed Munchel striding across the Senate gallery with handfuls of plastic handcuffs, earning him the nickname “zip-tie guy.” Both were held for weeks without bond after prosecutors argued they were a danger to their communities, but they won their temporary release from custody by appealing to the D.C. Court of Appeals in March.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie A. Goemaat said the government is sifting through more than 220,000 citizen tips plus, massive amounts of video and social media evidence in the Jan. 6 cases as prosecutors try to meet their obligation to turn over evidence to the defendants. The next scheduled hearing in the case was set for Sept. 20.

Thirteen people with Georgia ties have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 riot, and many face the possibility of years behind bars. In the meantime, most are free on bond where they are allowed to live at home and go to work, although with significant restrictions.

In a hearing Monday, a D.C. judge overruled a federal magistrate in Atlanta and ordered former Marine and Johns Creek resident Kevin Douglas Creek to be released on a personal recognizance bond while he awaits trial for allegedly assaulting police officers outside the Capitol.

Kevin Douglas Creek, a roofing contractor from Alpharetta, was arrested June 9, 2021, and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Police body camera footage appears to show Creek attacking police defending the Capitol. (Photo: United States Department of Justice)
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Kevin Douglas Creek, a roofing contractor from Alpharetta, was arrested June 9, 2021, and charged with participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Police body camera footage appears to show Creek attacking police defending the Capitol. (Photo: United States Department of Justice)

Last week, Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker agreed with Georgia prosecutors that the 46-year-old roofing contractor showed a lack of remorse and a disregard for the rule of law and should be held pending trial. However, prosecutors in D.C. did not oppose a defense motion requesting his release on bond.

So far, only two of the defendants charged in the Jan. 6 riot have entered guilty pleas. On Wednesday, 49-year-old Indiana resident Anna Morgan-Lloyd became the first defendant to be sentenced, receiving three years probation in exchange for pleading guilty to one misdemeanor charge.

Prior to imposing the sentence in that case, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth said he was troubled by statements describing the riot as “just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol.” Georgia U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde, an Athens Republican, made national news last month when he downplayed the Jan. 6 riot as “no insurrection” and looking like “a normal tourist visit.”

Lambert, a Reagan appointee, did not mention Clyde by name but vehemently disagreed with the characterization.

”I don’t know what planet they were on but there were millions in this country who saw what happened on Jan. 6,” he said. “The attempt of some congressmen to rewrite history and say these were just tourists walking through the Capitol was utter nonsense.”

Lamberth said video soon to be released by the court will show the violence behind the Capitol breach.

Morgan-Lloyd, a resident of Indiana, was not accused of being part of the violence. She and a friend entered the Capitol through an open door, stayed about 10 minutes and left, prosecutors said. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to three years probation. In a tearful statement, she said she was “ashamed” of her participation in what she described as a “disgraceful” day.

”I would just like to apologize to the court, the American people, my family,” she said.

On the advice of her attorney, Morgan-Lloyd read books and watched movies documenting the experience of religious and ethnic minorities and included reports on “Schindler’s List” and “Just Mercy” with her statement.