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Meredith Who Threatened Pelosi Detained For Trial In DC Day Late But Guns In Trailer Thread

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT, Jan 14 –  Eight days after in the US Capitol among other things Mark Leffingwell stuck a Capitol Police officer repeatedly with a closed fist (and was freed), Cleveland Grover Meredith who arrived a day late in DC with guns in his trailer was detained.

  U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey held the January 14 proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here:

AUSA: Interstate threats can constitute a crime of violence.

Meredith's defense lawyer: The three cases they cite are inapposite. The 2013 case is no longer applicable after Supreme Court decisions in 2019.

Judge Harvey: Let me address the threshold issue. I'll skip to the conclusion. I'm going to rule for the government. But I'd like to make a record.

Judge: What the defendant is charged will must fall into one of the 3142(f) factors. So the government has to assert a crime of violence under the Bail Reform Act. It's defined as an offense using the threat of physical force... Section 875(c) criminalizes interstate communication of a threat of violence or to kidnap.  [Citing cases on Westlaw, privatization of legal precedents]

Judge: Does the threat to kidnap qualify as a crime of violence? Some cases say no, puzzling laymen and lawyers alike...

Judge: A person could be kidnapped through trickery. The DC Circuit has not addressed that. The 5th has, & 8th Circuit in Roth (2020). But this is not a kidnapping case - it's a threat case. Every threat case involves violence. [Without this, Meredith walks out on bond]

 Judge: Kidnapping by trickery scenario wouldn't happen in the real world. I conclude that the communicated threat is a crime of violence, & hence detention eligible. Now, let's hear the government on the four factors.

Defense: I still don't have financial affidavit

 Judge: File it by close of business tomorrow. Defense: I also have another status conference at 3:45 pm. Judge says tell other judge to wait. Now, the issue of confidential health issues arises. They want a break-out room. [This could have been done in writing] I

 Now they are arranging to take this public proceeding private, or sealed, apparently about Meredith's medical issues that militate for release. "You are now in a break-out session."  "You are now in the main session." Then, "You are now in a break-out session."

[While awaiting return of judge and lawyers (and Meredith?) note that the memo for release, 10 pages, didn't have anything redacted. This allegedly confidential medical info arguing for release could have been put in it writing, rather than this "break out" ...

 Maybe it goes without saying, but is this shielded "break out" session being transcribed by a court reporter, so that the sealing could be meaningfully challenged? Or one is supposed to reply on the Magistrate Judge to decide to unseal. But is that reviewable? ]

Anyway, "you are back in the main session."

Judge: OK government, go right ahead.

AUSA: There are no condition that will assure the community's safety, and return. He remained in DC and made multiple threats, including to Nancy Pelosi and the DC mayor...

AUSA: This misogynistic rhetoric... He sent a text message he was headed to DC for target practice. He said he took steps how to accomplish his goal, the best way to assault the city. He relished carnage. He said the mayor was stupid for calling it terrorism

 AUSA: There are text he wanted to stay a day later to, quote, F*ck with the Commies. He took steps to see these threats through. They are not protected by the First Amendment. He told officers he knew he had crossed the line. He booked a hotel room.

AUSA: He had an automatic rifle used by the Israeli military. He went so far as to apply duct tape to the magazine to more quickly fire bullets. He arrived day late -- Judge: That's the irony, isn't it? Why wasn't he hear on the 6th? AUSA: His car broke down. Inner City Press @innercitypress · 44m AUSA: Even late, he tried to accomplish his nihilistic goals. This violent rhetoric, it was fortunately discovered before it went further. The texts speak for themselves. He attended Governor Kemp's rally - ok, it is an open carry state, but...

 AUSA: He's acknowledged drug use, on the night of the offense. That day, prior to this offense, along the same time, at 3 pm he assaults a resident of the city, in a road rage issue. [That is not to be found, at least not yet, on the DC Court's website]
AUSA: That just goes to show the mental state that he was in. The fourth factor, danger to the community, our final point is this is someone who is under the spell of the Q-Anon...

He won't follow any conditions of release.

AUSA: He follows that ideological conspiracy theory movement.

Judge: Defense? Defense: He's a father of two. The text messages were in jest, to friends, and not posted online. An individual said, Im' worried about you. He replied, LOL I'm just having fun

Defense: He'd came to DC in November for a rally. It was a lot of fun. People were friendly. This time, when they came to his hotel room, he was friendly, he answered questions without an attorney present.  He is remorseful.

Defense: The government's own evidence say that as he got close to DC he released he couldn't have guns in his car, only in the trailer. We should be able to see what they are relying on. We don't know anything about the head-butting.

 Defense: He participates heavily in his church, traveled to other countries to build homes. He had an amicable divorce. His character reference [not in the docket?] says he's no troublemaker, just a patriot. She states she would help with a curfew & removing guns

 Defense: He was in his room, resting, when the authorities found him. We look at the community, in terms of danger, where he resides. He has no criminal history. He has ties in the North Carolina community.  Judge: Who is the custodian? Defense: Ms Jeffords [ph]

 Defense: He would refrain from the use of alcohol. He could turn over his passport.  [Note that this judge while releasing Leffingwell has detained Lonnie Coffman...]

Pre-Trial: There are not conditions to release him and keep community safe.

AUSA: He said he'd like to use the armor-piercing bullets to shoot the mayor of DC. He was texting about his weapons. That is was in jest is undercut by statements to FBI. He was asked if social media posts were for reaction or he believe. He said, a bit of both

AUSA: That he'd have access to social media could make worse the things happening in his head.. especially for the next couple of weeks.

Judge: I am going to grant request to detain Mr. Meredith.

 Judge: We get our fair share of these threat cases in DC. But I conclude this was a true threat. I don't remember any more concerning threats case. Threats to the mayor and Speaker of the House, of running them over. You said, "3 1/2 hours from target practice"

 Judge: Often people make threats from their basement. You took steps to come here. He drove from Colorado and brought with you the means to make good on your threats. The fire power in the vehicle: 9mm, a telescopic scope, 320 armor piercing rounds...

Judge: The threats were found on your cell phone. Exchanged with others the government could call as witnesses. The guns were in a truck behind your vehicle. You admitted that. It's a strong case, though that'd be up to a jury. But the factor weighs for detention

Judge: I do not see the point of sending you back to Colorado or North Carolina, even with GPS, since you traveled to get here. GPS is imperfect. We don't have room for error when it comes to you. I have no role in the Superior Court case. Here, Jan 28 at 3 pm

  Inner City Press will cover that too, watch this site.

   There was this, from the US response filing on the night of January 13:

the Government counsel filed a Memorandum in Support of Detention (ECF 4) on January 13, 2021, at 3:09 a.m., and was in receipt of the defendant’s Memorandum in Support of Relief (ECF 5) that day at 12:09 p.m.

Argument The defendant argues that the interstate communication of a threat to kidnap or injure another person does not qualify as a crime of violence. This ignores the analysis in United States v. Santoro, 359 F.Supp. 3d 122 (D. Me. 2019), which determined that such an offense, as enumerated under 18 U.S.C. § 875(c), is a crime of violence. The very threat to injure another, it reasoned, is a threatened use of violent force. As is the case here, the court noted that “[t]he defendant has not explained how one can threaten to injure the person of another without such a threat implying the use of violent force to do so.” Santoro, 359 F.Supp. 3d at 128; citing United  States v. Chapman, 866 F.3d 129, 134-35 (3rd Cir. 2017) (where a mailed threat to injure someone under section 876(c) amounted to a crime of violence). Similarly, in citing Sontoro, the same decision was reached in United States v. Christy, No. 3:18-CR-223, 2020 WL 2794617, at *4 (M.D. Pa. May 29, 2020), where the communication of threats, including to the President, “are clearly crimes of violence under the Bail Reform Act.” See 18 U.S.C. 3156(a)(4); United States v. Choudhry, 941 F.Supp. 2d 347, 351 (E.D.N.Y. 2013) (communication of threat to injure another is a crime of violence for detention purposes).

As in the case where a threat issued to the President of the United States qualifies as a crime of violence for purposes of detention, the same conclusion should follow here in the communication of a threat against a Congresswoman. Nevertheless, the defendant does pose a serious risk of flight as well. He has no ties to this community and has a means of transportation. Moreover, he has exhibited an extreme degree of hostility against governmental functions, ostensibly traveling to the District with violent intentions at a time that coincided with a hearing to confirm the next President of the United States." Watch this site.

On January 8, by contrast, Mark Leffingwell was released to fly back to him home in Seattle, no GPS monitor, no bond. 

Inner City Press covered the case.   U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey held the detention, or really non-detention, proceeding. Inner City Press live tweeted it here:  (then, song here)

Now in Federal Court in DC, hearing of detained  Mark Jefferson LEFFINGWELL who "attempted to push past me and other officers. When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, LEFFINGWELL punched me repeatedly with a closed fist."

Assistant US Attorney is *not* asking for detention . He'll be allowed to travel back home to Seattle.

 AUSA: We'll be requesting strict conditions... A stay-away from DC... A curfew.  Judge: You say he works. What is it? Lawyer: A packaging plant called Panacea in Everett, Washington. 30 to 40 hours a week.

 From the complaint: "I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest. Working with other officers, I was able to gain control over LEFFINGWELL, who attempted to struggle while being detained. I transported LEFFINGWELL to US Capitol Police HQ."

Judge Harvey: Believe it or not, I have a lot of these case. Pre-Trial should find out about GPS in the Districts where these folks come from. I released someone else yesterday. Defense: GPS is not necessary. He has 2 children.

Defense: He wants to go to church on the weekend. No need to be on a GPS. We'll take a stay away. He's never been to DC before.

Mrs. Leffingwell: I'm an insurance agent. We have a son, Noah, and Nicholas. Judge: I am going to release Mr. Leffingwell.

Judge: You can turn in your guns to a police station. You must call pre-trial once a week and keep working [at the packaging plant.] Stay away from DC except for court. Our proceedings will be remote, you probably won't have to come.

 Judge Harvey: I don't see the point of putting him on a curfew if we're not going to do GPS. Defense: He needs his ID to fly back to Seattle.

AUSA: We have nothing.

 Defense: He passed his phone to one of his friends. I think they have his license.

AUSA: A third party? I can look for it. Which agency.

Defense: He was brought to 1-D-1, next to the baseball field, then the cell block.

Judge Harvey: I am going to release Mr Leffingwell. He must stay away from Washington DC. [That seems to be the main focus]

Judge Harvey: You'll have to Zoom in to the preliminary hearing... We've got the phone number, no worries, Mr. Leffingwell.

Song on SoundCloud here.


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