U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden held a Jan. 6 rioter in criminal contempt for his conduct during trial after he criticized the judge and the court system during a Tuesday hearing.
McFadden, a Donald Trump appointee who has been critical of the government’s approach in some of the Jan. 6 cases that he’s presided over, sentenced the man to five months in prison Tuesday – before jury deliberations in the trial even began.
Rioter Brandon Fellows, who has called Jan. 6 a “beautiful day” and indicated he still believes that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, has represented himself in the trial that began last week and took the stand during Tuesday’s hearing.
Fellows has been charged with felonies for obstructing an official proceeding and aiding and abetting as well as misdemeanors related to the Capitol attack. He was also accused of smoking marijuana inside a hideaway office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
“I didn’t know it was a senator’s desk,” Fellows said on the stand Tuesday, talking about a photo of himself sitting in Merkley’s chair. “It felt very comfy.”
As he continued his testimony, Fellows said he believed he was fighting “the corrupt government” on Jan. 6. He also told the jury he didn’t participate in the violence during the riot even though he supported it.
“It’s the people’s house,” Fellows said on the stand. “We had the right to overthrow it.”
Fellows also previously stated that he liked “the fact that those senators and congressmen were in fear for their lives.”
Following the government’s cross examination, Judge McFadden told Fellows he had forfeited his right to engage in a rebuttal because, as he answered the prosecutors’ questions, he responded with unsolicited running commentary and avoided answering yes-or-no prompts.
“I would expect nothing less from a kangaroo court,” Fellows snapped back in response to the judge’s decision.
Later that day, McFadden held Fellows in criminal contempt of court and sentenced him to five months in prison for his conduct.
After he was informed that he was being held in contempt, Fellows called the court a “Nazi court,” according to the judge’s order.
The five months sentence will start after the conclusion of the trial, which could end in additional jail time if he is convicted.