Behold, a rich tapestry of one of the most bonkers post-insurrection arrests to date.
An actor in the traveling tour of the Broadway musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” has been charged with breaking into the Capitol with several far-right militia members known as Oath Keepers on Jan. 6., the Justice Department said Tuesday.
48-year-old James Beeks (stage name “James T. Justis”) of Orlando, Florida was arrested on Tuesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the day the production was scheduled to perform in the city this week, according to the DOJ. Beeks played Judas, the disciple who betrays Jesus, in the show, according to his bio page on the tour’s website (the page has since been deleted).
The FBI’s complaint alleges that Beeks joined a group of Oath Keepers who were marching in what the complaint describes as a “stack formation” toward the Capitol.
Once they allegedly entered the building, the group split up, and Beeks and several other Oath Keepers attempted to shove past the line of officers guarding the hallway that led to the Senate chamber, prosecutors say. Beeks and the others were “forcibly repelled” by law enforcement, and they left the building at around 3:00 p.m. ET, according to the complaint.
Several Oath Keepers who prosecutors say marched alongside Beeks in the “stack” were members who have since been indicted for conspiracy in the sweeping federal superseding indictment against more than a dozen Oath Keepers for their role in the Capitol attack.
An unnamed Oath Keeper who has pleaded guilty to storming the Capitol and is identified as “Defendant 4” in the complaint allegedly told investigators that Beeks approached the group of Oath Keepers while they were walking from the Ellipse to the Capitol. The actor allegedly told Defendant 4 that he had recently joined their organization and that he was from Orlando. Beeks, according to prosecutors, was carrying a shield, which he allegedly told Defendant 4 was homemade and bulletproof.
Because Beeks was wearing a neck gaiter over his nose, the complaint says, Defendant 4 was unable to see his face. However, Defendant 4 described him as a Black man who was wearing a Michael Jackson “BAD” world tour jacket.
Screenshots of Capitol surveillance footage in the complaint shows an individual matching that description, including the jacket, hanging with several Oath Keepers outside and inside the building.
The complaint states that investigators were able to identify the individual as Beeks by comparing the footage to one of his YouTube videos that showed his “pronounced antihelix”:
The complaint included photos of a replica of the Michael Jackson jacket he allegedly wore:
The complaint also included an Instagram photo posted last year that seemed to show Beeks wearing the jacket while standing in front of a theater with the Jesus Christ Superstar logo on the doors:
The complaint states that the government obtained records from RallyPay that showed Beeks had paid membership dues to the Oath Keepers on December 21, a little over two weeks before the insurrection. Investigators were able to trace Beeks’ phone number and address to the payment, according to the complaint, and bank records showed that the actor’s debit card had been at a parking lot in D.C. on Jan. 6.
The feds also traced Beeks’ phone number, address and driver’s license information to a shooting range in Orlando, and found he had visited the range at least three times since July 2020, the complaint says.
Law enforcement even went to some of the “Jesus Christ Superstar” shows: The investigators “observed” Beeks by watching some of his performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles in early November, according to the complaint.
In addition to “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Beeks’ Broadway credits include “Kinky Boots,” “Aida,” “Ragtime” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” according to the now-deleted bio on the show’s website.
The actor has been charged with obstruction of Congress, unlawful entry and disorderly conduct.
D.J. Martin, the communications director for the national tour, announced on Wednesday that Beeks has been suspended from the production indefinitely “pending the outcome of the hearing.”
Read the complaint below:
This story has been updated to include news of Beeks’ suspension from the tour.