An accused January 6 Capitol rioter who was repeatedly warned against representing himself at a bond hearing has admitted to two additional felony crimes.
Brandon Fellows, of Albany, New York, was facing a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding for allegedly breaking into the US Capitol through a broken window and smoking marijuana in Senator Jeff Merkley’s office.
The 26-year-old allegedly posted pictures of himself sitting on a police officer’s motorcycle while wearing a fake beard and USA jacket, as hundreds of Trump supporters violently clashed with police outside the Capitol.
Before his bond hearing began Tuesday, Fellows had asked US District Judge Trevor McFadden if he could self-represent, explaining he had spent the previous two weeks in the Washington DC Jail’s library.
McFadden warned Fellows he could be opening himself up to perjury – or even obstruction of justice – charges if he testified on his own behalf, and that he would likely be going back to jail, reports WUSA.
“Most people do not do this,” U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden told Fellows. “Obviously your attorney has discouraged this. I do not think this is a good idea… but I’m going to allow you to take the stand, if you wish.”
During a rambling two-hour speech, Fellows discussed a conversation with his public defender in which he said he had found a “loophole” to have Judge McFadden removed from the case by contacting the judge’s family.
Fellows went on to explain that he’d been able to get a judge in a previous case removed after he intentionally put down the judge’s wife as his emergency contact.
“When I’m worried, I don’t make the most understandable decisions,” he told the judge.
Fellows “rambled across a difficult-to-follow litany of complaints about his incarceration, stopping to touch on subjects as widely varied as the Taliban, Guantanamo Bay, a woman who’d left her child in a dumpster and a ‘constitutional lawyer’ who had allegedly advised him to wrap his cell phone in tin foil to avoid capture,” WUSA reported.
During cross-examination with a federal prosecutor, Fellows admitted to the original crime he’d been charged with of gaining access to the Capitol through a broken window without police permission.
He then went on to admit two more felony crimes of using the judge’s wife’s contact information to try to get him removed from a previous case, and missing court-ordered mental health and drug testing appointments.
Judge McFadden ordered Fellows remain in jail, saying he had shown “contempt for the criminal justice system”.
“You are charged with a federal felony,” McFadden said. “This is not a community college where you get pats on the back.”
“You’ve admitted to incredible lapses of judgment here on the stand, not least of which was seeking to disqualify a New York state judge,” the judge continued. “You’ve admitted to obstruction of justice in that case, and you’ve admitted to what was probably obstruction in this case in trying to have me disqualified, and only Ms. Halverson’s advice stopped you from doing so. You’ve engaged in a pattern of behaviors that shows contempt for the criminal justice system, and I just have no confidence that you will follow my orders if I release you.”
Brandon Fellows apparently found something very sovereign citizen-sounding online that he believed was a "loophole" that would allow him to force the courts to give him a new judge, which is why he listed a previous judge's wife as his emergency contact. https://t.co/JAOCheHmSV
— Jordan Fischer (@JordanOnRecord) October 12, 2021