Jan. 6 defendant Zachary Rehl's plea to dismiss his case on the grounds of FBI accessing his case-related emails, which he claimed violated his Sixth Amendment rights, has been dismissed by Judge Timothy Kelly. This is a significant setback for Rehl, who is being tried along with former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio, and members Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, and Dominic Pezzola. All five defendants are facing charges of allegedly conspiring to oppose the transfer of presidential power in January 2021, among other related charges.
A Jan. 6 defendant who was charged alongside a man who drove a stun gun into the neck of a D.C. police officer during the Capitol attack has been convicted of three counts. https://t.co/lrqJDEEEMB
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) April 4, 2023
Rehl's argument was dismissed by Judge Kelly, who disagreed with his claim and pointed out that the email system used by inmates required their consent for monitoring and information retrieval by law enforcement and other authorities. Additionally, the judge noted that the consent rule explicitly excluded emails exchanged between inmates and their lawyers from attorney-client privilege. He further agreed with the government's assertion that Rehl had willingly waived any claim to privilege over these communications.
In addition, the government disclosed that a planned witness for Enrique Tarrio's co-defendant was actually an FBI informant. The individual, known as Jen Loh, had interacted with one or more defense attorneys, taken part in prayer meetings with families of one or more defendants, and had discussions with a family member of one of the defendants about replacing one of the defense lawyers.
Judge Kelly decided that the defense lawyers were not permitted to bring up Jen Loh's FBI connection during the trial, despite the disclosure. Nicholas Smith, the attorney for Ethan Nordean, alleged that Loh had inquired about specific details related to the case. However, FBI San Antonio Special Agent Kristina Spindel stated in a sworn statement that the FBI did not direct Loh to gather information about the defendants in the case and did not receive any information regarding her interactions with them or their legal representatives on this matter.
The case illustrates the extent to which the FBI is willing to go to prosecute conservative individuals, regardless of their innocence. They are willing to infiltrate prayer meetings and use informants to gain an advantage in their cases, which is a clear violation of the rights of these individuals who were merely exercising their First Amendment right to protest. This abuse of power needs to be challenged, and it is crucial to demand that the DOJ cease targeting and persecuting conservatives.