Plea negotiations have begun for Maine man charged in Capitol riot


Federal prosecutors have started plea negotiations with the Maine man who was charged for his alleged participation in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Kyle Fitzsimons, 37, was arrested in February in Maine. A federal grand jury indicted him that month on 10 charges, including two counts of inflicting bodily injury on certain officers. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting trial at a jail in the District of Columbia.

The FBI released this photograph of Kyle Fitzsimons. The image was taken from a security camera at the Capitol during the insurrection on Jan. 6. Federal court documents

More than 400 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. So far, Fitzsimons is the only Maine resident to face federal prosecution for allegedly joining the riot with supporters of former President Donald Trump. Glen Mitchell “Mitch” Simon, who is originally from Minot but later moved to Georgia, was also arrested and has pleaded not guilty to four federal misdemeanor charges.

The docket indicates that Fitzsimons hired two attorneys to represent him, but earlier this month, he asked the court to appoint a federal public defender to represent him. The judge approved that request and appointed Natasha Taylor-Smith, a public defender based in Philadelphia. The volume of cases from the riot has prompted the court to appoint attorneys from outside the District.

Taylor-Smith represented Fitzsimons during a status conference Friday but said she needs more time to review discovery and meet with her new client. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Regan also told the judge he has started preliminary plea negotiations with the defense attorney, who did not indicate a position. Neither lawyer shared any details about the offer. Reuters reported this week that prosecutors have been negotiating in other cases as well, but only one defendant has so far pleaded guilty.

Judge Reggie Walton scheduled another conference for June 8.

An affidavit filed in February included screenshots from surveillance and police body cameras that allegedly show Fitzsimons at the front of the group of rioters on the lower west terrace of the Capitol. It said he was observed “pushing and grabbing against officers” and charging the police line. It also cited a social media post from December in which Fitzsimons repeated the baseless view that Trump lost the 2020 election because of voter fraud and offered to lead a caravan to Washington to challenge the results.

A government motion included more detailed allegations about violence against specific officers. It also mentioned three alleged threatening phone calls to Rep. Chellie Pingree’s office, including one on Dec. 17, just weeks before the events at the Capitol.

“He was reported to be very aggressive, shouting and yelling,” the motion said about that alleged call. “Fitzsimons said that he was going to ‘give it to her hard’ and that ‘we’re coming for her’ (referring to the Congressperson).”

Fitzsimons declined an interview request when he was arrested in February, and additional efforts to seek an interview have been unsuccessful. However, he spoke to the Rochester Voice newspaper in New Hampshire and called in to a Lebanon Board of Selectmen meeting before his arrest to describe his experience at the riot. Those comments are also cited in the documents filed by the federal government. He told both that he expected the event to be a peaceful one. He described wearing a “costume” – his white butcher jacket – and he told the newspaper that he carried an unstrung bow as a sign of peace. He also told them he was injured by a blow to the head by a police officer’s baton and needed six stitches at a nearby hospital.

“The march was, in my belief, to demonstrate that Trump, a lion, was leading an army of lambs to change the corrupt fraud that had been perpetuated,” he said during the Lebanon meeting.

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