Sep. 25—A judge has again denied release to a Lebanon man who is facing federal charges stemming from his participation in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Kyle Fitzsimons, 37, is one of more than 600 people who have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. He was arrested in Maine in February, and 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.
Fitzsimons has been held in a jail in the District of Columbia for months while his case is pending. His defense attorney recently asked the court to release him and allow him to stay with his mother in Florida. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras held a hearing last week and issued an order denying that motion Friday.
"When considering both Fitzsimons's history of confrontational and threatening conduct in furtherance of his political views and his actions on January 6th, he has demonstrated a disregard for the safety of others and the rule of law," Contreras wrote in the order. "Accordingly, no combination of pretrial release conditions could reasonably guarantee the safety of the community."
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 appears to repeat 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. Fitzsimons is not accused of entering the Capitol itself, as other rioters did.
Another government motion included more detailed allegations about violence against specific officers. It also mentioned three threatening phone calls Fitzsimons is accused of making to Rep. Chellie Pingree's office, including one on Dec. 17, just weeks before the events at the Capitol.
Attorney Natasha Taylor-Smith, a federal public defender who represents Fitzsimons, argued that he was not a flight risk and could safely be in the community while he waits for his trial. She said her client was not part of a violent or extremist organization, unlike others in the crowd that day.
"Rather, he is a lone individual who was persuaded by the rhetoric of then-President Trump and the Republican party, and was led to believe that the 2020 election was stolen," she wrote. "Mr. Fitzsimons believed voter fraud occurred, which ultimately (led) to his arrest in this instant matter. He, however, is not a threat to his community and should not be detained pending trial."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Regan argued that Fitzsimons should remain in jail in part because of the seriousness of the charge against him, especially the alleged assaults on police officers. At the hearing, he also said Fitzsimons has not expressed remorse for his actions in his public comments since then or in recorded phone calls from the jail to his mother.
"The defendant made these views known well before January 6, 2021 and continued to espouse those views well after the Capitol riots, despite massive media coverage condemning the rioters' actions," Regan wrote in his motion.
In his order, the judge said he did not believe Fitzsimons was a flight risk, but he did consider him a danger to the community based on the evidence against him in this case.
"Given his lack of remorse — and even pride — in his actions that day, the Court lacks confidence that Fitzsimons has somehow broken this pattern, and fears that the escalation of his behavior will continue and result in a graver act of violence given that the trigger for his violent acts — the election of President Biden — will be present for at least three more years," Contreras wrote.
Fitzsimons was the first Maine resident to face federal prosecution for joining the riot with supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Glen Mitchell "Mitch" Simon, who is originally from Minot but later moved to Georgia, also was arrested and has pleaded not guilty to four federal misdemeanor charges. A plea hearing is scheduled in his case for Oct. 15. Nicholas P. Hendrix of Gorham similarly pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanors. He has a status conference scheduled for Oct. 19. Both men have been allowed to remain out of custody while their cases are pending.
A trial date has not been set for Fitzsimons. The next event in his case is a status conference on Oct. 20.