Federal prosecutors are pushing back against claims of mistreatment at a Washington, DC, jail where dozens of U.S. Capitol rioters are being held.
The Justice Department on Wednesday addressed complaints lodged by defendant Christopher Worrell, whose case has become a cause célèbre in right-wing circles because of his health issues while in jail.
“During an October 13 hearing, Worrell’s lawyer claimed that because jail officials had dragged their feet getting his client medical treatment for a broken finger, Worrell needed surgery,” reports CNN. “He is also diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and at one point he contracted Covid-19 while at the jail.”
DOJ lawyers however pointed out that Worrell wanted “elective” surgery because he didn’t like the way his fracture had healed and had turned down treatment at the jail for his cancer.
“He was informed that surgery has risks that may outweigh the benefits of a surgery,” Worrell’s doctor wrote. “Although, we discussed the risks of infection, poor function, pain, etc … the patient’s beyond reason at this time. We will proceed with extreme caution, since it is apparent that ulterior motives are at play.”
Prosecutors also allege that Worrell had turned down earlier treatment at the jail for his cancer, among other medical conditions.
“In a separate case Wednesday related to the January 6 attack, Judge Emmet Sullivan noted he was aware of some difficulties with defendants’ situations in jail, specifically related to how they could access evidence in their cases to prepare for trial. But Sullivan also critiqued Capitol riot defendants who have dragged claims about their treatment in jail into the courtroom.”
During the hearing, Sullivan said he thought some defense attorneys were bringing up issues to judges like injured wrists when they should be talking directly with the jail instead.
“They’re running a jail, not a hotel,” Sullivan said. “Some people want hotel services.”