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The actor charged in a riot almost remained in jail

Actor accused of storming the Capitol as a member of the Oath Keepers nearly remained in jail after his former lawyer told a judge the actor challenged the court’s jurisdiction

An actor accused of storming the United States Capitol as a member of the far-right militia Oath Keepers nearly remained in jail after a judge learned on Monday that the Florida man was contesting the authority of the court over him.

A prosecutor said he had no plans to seek remand for James Beeks from Orlando, Fla. Until he learned in court that the actor did not accept jurisdiction court on him.

Beeks, who starred in a touring production of the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” and as a Michael Jackson impersonator, initially declined legal representation and made comments that the judge called of “gibberish”.

“An accused who rejects the jurisdiction of the court, rejects being subject to the laws of the United States, rejects the rule of law is usually not released before trial because that person cannot be trusted to comply with the conditions of pre-trial release, “said the head of the United States. District Judge Beryl Howell warned Beeks during a hearing in federal court in Washington, DC

The production company that employs Beeks said it recently informed the company that he was a “sovereign citizen,” according to prosecutors. At Monday’s hearing, Beeks denied being part of the extremist “sovereign citizen” movement, which believes the US government is illegitimate.

His chances of being released from prison seemed to diminish as he offered answers the judge said she couldn’t understand. Then another lawyer, Michelle Peterson, intervened for Beeks.

Beeks then let Petersen represent him and was released from jail after agreeing to abide by court-imposed release conditions such as accepting GPS surveillance, not owning a gun and having no contact with members. of the Oath Keepers.

Beeks was arrested in Milwaukee last Tuesday. He has yet to plead a felony charge of obstructing Congress and a felony charge of unlawfully entering a building or restricted land.

Authorities say Beeks, who entered Capitol Hill wearing a jacket from Michael Jackson’s “BAD” world tour, was a member of the Oath Keepers and had paid dues to the group two weeks before the riot.

Since January 6, more than 650 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the violation of the United States Capitol, officials said.

A few other defendants indicted in the Capitol Riot espoused ideologies and expressed rhetoric that appears to be in line with the “sovereign citizens” movement.

In September, another Washington federal judge jailed self-represented defendant Pauline Bauer for failing to comply with court orders to cooperate with probation officers upon her provisional release. Bauer, who owns a restaurant in rural Kane, Pa., Repeatedly interrupted the judge during hearings and unsuccessfully argued that the court had no jurisdiction over her. ———

Billeaud reported from Phoenix.

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