January 17, 2022

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Chief Federal Judge In DC Cancels Jan. 6 Defendant’s Vacation Plans In Epic Benchslap

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(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Shortly after Michigan man Anthony Williams bragged on Facebook that he had “stormed” the Capitol and “pushed back the cops” on January 6, 2021, he got a friendly visit from the FBI. He also got himself five charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.

As a condition of his pretrial release, Williams agreed to clear any travel outside the United States with US District Court in DC, which is how he wound up filing this motion yesterday, on the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, requesting permission to go on vacation with his girlfriend in Jamaica.

Well, not “vacation,” because that word never appears in the request. In Williams’s telling, he “intends to spend time working with a local non-profit, St. Anthony’s Kitchen, in Negril, Jamaica.”

US Chief Judge Beryl Howell, who has already expressed irritation with the light sentences being sought by the Justice Department, was not amused.

It’s best if we just copy and paste this minute order in its entirety, since no paraphrase could possibly do it justice:

Defendant, while on pretrial release and facing charges including a serious felony offense, stemming from his alleged actions on January 6, 2021, wishes to leave the Michigan winter to spend ten days in the warmer climes of Jamaica to meet the family of a woman with whom defendant has been in a committed relationship for “more than a year.” Def.’s Mot. at 2. Although such a meeting may be an important step in defendant’s personal relationship, defendant surrendered his entitlement to unfettered international travel when, also “more than a year” ago, on December 30, 2020, he allegedly announced his intent to “Storm the Swamp,” [1-1] Statement of Facts at 7, and one week later, on January 6, 2021, followed through by joining a mob at the Capitol that, in his words, “took [that] fucking building,” id. at 6, an event he allegedly viewed as the “proudest day of [his] life,” id. at 7. This Court will not commemorate the one-year anniversary of this attack on the Capitol by granting defendant’s request for non-essential foreign travel when he is awaiting judgment for his actions on that day. Signed by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell on January 6, 2022.

Gonna need some ice for that burn. Luckily, Williams should be able to find a good supply in Michigan this time of year.

US v. Williams [Docket via Court Listener]


Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.

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