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Jan. 6th defendant’s attorney says prime time hearing tainted jury pool

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 5:49 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Attorney Joseph McBride is claiming that prime time hearings by the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol are “poisoning” the potential jury pool. McBride is representing Ryan Nichols, a former Marine charged with multiple crimes related to Jan. 6th. Nichols is on-track for a November 1st trial in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

McBride appeared at a status conference hearing with Judge Thomas Hogan on Friday. The attorney said that the select committee’s presentation publicized evidence that was under a protection order. McBride said the order should now be lifted so evidence favorable to his client might be publicly presented.

Judge Hogan then expressed his own concern that Congress publicized the information while there are multiple cases pending in federal court. He told McBride, “I think you have a legitimate concern that does concern the court.”

In an interview with Gray Television’s Washington News Bureau, McBride said, “it’s across-the-board damaging to jury pools and to people who have knowledge about this case. I’m raising the issue now because I want the committee to stop, and I do think it’s grounds certainly for change-of-venue motions at the very least in Ryan Nichols’s case and others like it.”

George Washington University law professor Steven Saltzburg said he’s not surprised that defense attorneys are already claiming the hearings could be an issue.

Saltzburg said, “in my experience, most of the judges here in the district are very responsible. They believe that cases should be tried where crimes were committed, or at least alleged crimes were committed. And they will try to keep the cases here. But if they can’t impanel a jury without enormous difficulty, then I think they’ll be faced with the necessity of having to grant a change of venue.”

Judge Hogan told McBride that if the trial were being held next week, then he would delay it, due to the committee’s prime time hearings. McBride said he will ask for Nichols’ trial to be moved out of Washington, D.C.

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