|6/10/2022 2:40:00 PM|
Local Capitol breach cases
making slow progress
The January 6 U.S. capitol breach has been in the national news again lately, due to the investigative Congressional Committee opening hearings to the public. Four local defendants charged in connection with the incidents of January 6 are still awaiting their day in court, however. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office there were eight Minnesotans criminally charged in connection with the insurrection and four are Lindstrom residents; Robert, Jonah, Isaac Westbury and Aaron James are facing multiple charges. Jonah Westbury was indicted separately and has been moving through the system as an individual case with the other three combined for representation.
The latest development has the court reviewing the potential for there being a conflict, (violation of rights) having one attorney represent the multiple defendants.
Federal district court Judge Rudolph Contreras recently (May 18) accepted a brief submitted during a Zoom Internet hearing analyzing issues of “joint representation.” A ruling is pending. The electronic court records contain the recommendation that the defendants will need to establish individual waivers saying they’re okay sharing legal counsel “on the record.”
One of the concerns or conflicts is that a defendant will be used to develop information or evidence against another.
The possible conflict analysis submitted by attorney Barry Coburn, summarizes that the defendants are aware of the conflict issues and “none has the slightest interest in cooperating against any co-defendant” and are prepared to swear to this.
Jonah Elijah Westbury, 27, of Lindstrom, was the first of the four to be charged. His 63-year-old father, Robert and brother Isaac, 20, and Aaron James, 36, also with a Lindstrom address, still face trial.
Criminal charges are related to trying to disrupt a joint session of Congress, trespassing and being in unauthorized areas of the nation’s capitol; while the more serious offenses involve assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon, and actions resulting in an event total of $1.5 million in property damages that day.
Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted January 6, according to statements released by the District of Columbia US Attorney’s Office.