‘Vanilla Kind of Guy’: Lawyer Roasts Capitol Rioter in Bid to Keep Him From Jail

FBI / criminal complaint
A California man accused of coordinating a group of “armed fighters” to stop President Joe Biden's election certification on Jan. 6 is just a “vanilla guy” who was just mad about a mask his lawyers claimed on Tuesday.
Russell Taylor, a 40-year-old from Ladera Ranch, is one of six men charged last week on a number of charges, including conspiracy, over their role in the Capitol riot. Prosecutors claim the group, which consisted of at least four members of the Three Percenters militia group, was armed with weapons, bear spray and radios in D.C. in preparation for the siege. arrived.
Other indicted members of the group include Alan Hostetter, a 56-year-old former police chief; Erik Scott Warner, 45; Felipe Antonio "Tony" Martinez, 47; Derek Kinnison, 39; and Ronald Mele, 51.
Russell Taylor, right, is photographed taking out police officers in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Getty
Prosecutors argue that Taylor joined a "crowd of demonstrators" to attack police officers trying to secure the Capitol while armed with a knife and that he should be held in custody.
But his defense team had a different theory on Tuesday: the family man simply had too much time during the coronavirus pandemic and played out.
"He's kind of boring, that's probably the most exciting thing that's going to happen in his life," said Taylor's attorney Dyke Huish during a pre-trial detention hearing. "He's really a vanilla guy - although admittedly he was annoyed with the masks."
Huish described his client as "moderately successful" and a religious man who did not drink and attended Brigham Young University. He insisted that Taylor's actions during the uprising were unique and were fueled by his anger over the nationwide ban and mask mandate. He denied Taylor is a militiaman - only that his documented violent actions were misunderstood.
"This was a guy who got mad about the masks and was upset about it and felt that it was an appropriate thing to do," Huish said during the hearing.
However, the evidence gathered by federal investigators since February shows a different story.
FBI / criminal complaint
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday for detention, prosecutors further laid out Taylor's coordinated efforts to plot an attack on the Capitol - including the release of a Jan. 5 photo Taylor took of his tactical vest, hatchets, knife, his Gloves and his backpack with the caption "now prepare for tomorrow."
At least from December onwards he texted Hostetter about travel plans to D.C. and whether they should bring firearms. Prosecutors claim the two are leaders of the American Phoenix Project, which is described as a group advocating violence against individuals and groups that supported the results of the 2020 presidential election.
"I really believe that this is when we should come together to engage in this war, and as I said, it is an honor to be shoulder to shoulder with you," Taylor wrote to Hostetter on December 26, 2020 to the court record. Days later he wrote: "Personally, I want to stand on the first flight of stairs and be one of the first to break through the doors!"
On January 1, Taylor started a Telegram group chat titled "The California Patriots - DC Brigade" to organize a "group of 'fighters" who will travel to DC with weapons on January 6, 2021 for the peaceful transfer of . to prevent power on that day, “says the court record. In the chat, the group discussed the logistics of the operation, such as what skills they could provide and when they would be in D.C. arrived.
Yogi-Turned “Stop the Steal” protest organizer charged with January 6th conspiracy
The day before the riot, Taylor also spoke outside the Supreme Court, insisting that "we will fight and bleed before we let our freedoms be taken away from us." Court records state that Taylor sent in the photo of his backpack and guns later that evening. Photos of Taylor at the riot show that he is wearing most of what was in the photo.
After marching to the Capitol, prosecutors claim that Taylor "was one of the first group of rioters who clashed with a number of law enforcement officers on the Capitol's Lower West Terrace." He also recorded a "selfie" video in which he "urged other rioters who fought with officers" to "move forward."
U.S. Assistant Attorney Risa Berkower argued in court Tuesday that the evidence shows Taylor's anger went much deeper than his fear of face masks. Berkower argued that Taylor had posted about his anti-government ideology since the 2020 election and would only move on if he was released.
"Taylor's actions were designed to undermine the peaceful transfer of power that lies at the core of our democracy," prosecutors said in their complaint, adding that Taylor had shown no remorse for his actions. "The gravity of the crimes he has been charged with cannot be overestimated."
Judge Royce Lamberth said he would decide on Taylor's imprisonment at a later date.
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