Federal prosecutors responded to Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson’s newly released Capitol riot footage in a court filing Sunday.
Prosecutors rejected Carlson’s argument about the Justice Department (DOJ) withholding evidence from defendants and accused him of cherry-picking footage of “QAnon Shaman” Jacob Chansley. (RELATED: ‘Endangered My Family’: Pence Blames Trump For January 6 Riot At Gridiron Dinner)
JUST IN: Prosecutors offered their fullest repsonse to Tucker Carlson’s Chansley footage, noting that the aired portion covers about 4 minutes of his 1 hour inside the Capitol
And it omits the vast evidence that is damaging to Chansley, they say. https://t.co/SaQyIJrqx7 pic.twitter.com/DBZOnNMsoz
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 12, 2023
“In fact, the videos of Chansley’s movements throughout his time in the Capitol are highly inculpatory of Pezzola, Chansley, and other rioters captured on them. Pezzola’s argument seems to be that the snippets of Chansley’s movements that were televised by Carlson establish that there was no emergency necessitating the suspension of proceedings,” prosecutors argued in the court filing.
“The televised footage lacks the context of what occurred before and after the footage. Chansley entered the building as part of a violent crowd that gained access as a result of Pezzola’s destruction of a window and he traveled with Pezzola during the initial breach.”
The filing was connected to Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola’s motion to dismiss the government’s seditious conspiracy case against him based on Carlson’s footage of Chansley. He argued the DOJ was monitoring his communications, destroyed evidence and fabricated evidence involving confidential human sources.
“The televised footage shows Chansley’s movements only from approximately 2:56 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Prior to that time, Chansley had, amongst other acts, breached a police line at 2:09 p.m. with the mob, entered the Capitol less than one minute behind Pezzola during the initial breach of the building, and faced off with members of the U.S. Capitol Police for more than thirty minutes in front of the Senate Chamber doors while elected officials, including the Vice President of the United States, were fleeing from the chamber,” prosecutors continued.
Carlson’s footage appeared to show Capitol Police officers escorting Chansley through the Capitol building. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger on Tuesday accused Carlson of airing selective footage and coming to “misleading conclusions.” (RELATED: January 6 Prison Choir Has The Number One Song In The Country)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, led the criticism of Carlson for airing the footage and his commentary about the Capitol riot. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy provided Carlson with the footage and defended his decision to do so Wednesday.
Chansley’s former defense attorney Albert Watkins told the Daily Caller on Thursday that he is calling for the Justice Department to publicly state it failed to provide Chansley with all of the footage during his prosecution. He told various outlets he did not receive the footage of his client aired by Carlson.
Prosecutors rejected accusations of withholding footage taken by the Capitol Police’s surveillance system (CCTV) in the filing. “First, all the footage of Jacob Chansley that aired on Tucker Carlson earlier this week has been produced to these defendants in discovery,” the prosecutors said.
“While discovery in this case is voluminous, the government has provided defense counsel with the necessary tools to readily identify relevant cameras within the CCTV to determine whether footage was produced or not. Accordingly, the volume of discovery does not excuse defense counsel from making reasonable efforts to ascertain whether an item has been produced before making representations about what was and was not produced, let alone before filing inaccurate and inflammatory allegations of discovery failures,” they added.
Chansley was sentenced in November to 41 months in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release for his role in the Capitol riot. His charges included disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Pezzola’s charges include seditious conspiracy; assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; and robbery of personal property of the United States, according to a superseding indictment. He allegedly used a stolen riot shield to smash windows of the Capitol building and threatened to kill then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Pezzola is on trial with four other high-ranking members of the Proud Boys, an extremist group known for violent demonstrations.
“Our team’s review of available surveillance footage of Mr. Chansley is consistent with our reporting,” “Tucker Carlson Tonight” senior executive producer Justin Wells said in a statement to the Daily Caller.