Florida man playing Judas in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' accused in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

·2 min read

A Broadway actor currently playing Judas in a traveling production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" was arrested Tuesday on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, authorities said.

James Beeks, 49, of Orlando, is charged with obstruction of Congress, which is a felony, and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, a misdemeanor, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Image: James Beeks (via FBI)
Image: James Beeks (via FBI)

Prosecutors said Beeks is "an affiliate of the Oath Keepers," who joined up with some members of the anti-government organization on Jan. 6 and marched in a "stack" formation that stormed into the Capitol.

"Beeks was part of a mob of people, including some who attacked law enforcement," the statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

While most of the people in the group wore "camouflage-combat attire," helmets and clothing with Oath Keeper logos and insignia, Beeks was wearing a Michael Jackson “BAD” world tour jacket, and carried a homemade shield, according to an arrest warrant that included photos of Beeks at the Capitol.

Beeks told another suspect that "he had recently joined the Oath Keepers," the arrest warrant said. He paid dues to the far-right organization in late December of last year.

Beeks, the warrant said, is performing in a traveling 50th anniversary tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar" under the stage name of James T. Justis. He is playing the part of Judas.

He has also performed on Broadway in "Kinky Boots," "Aida," "Ragtime" and "Smokey Joe’s Cafe," according to his cast bio, which said he is also a published poet who is working on a book called "HisStory."

Image: James Beeks (via FBI)
Image: James Beeks (via FBI)

Prosecutors said he also "regularly performs as a Michael Jackson impersonator" and described himself on his YouTube page as “one of the Top Michael Jackson Tribute artists in the US.”

Law enforcement, during their investigation into Beeks, twice "observed him" perform in “Jesus Christ Superstar" earlier this month, the arrest warrant said.

The show traveled to Milwaukee this week, according to the tour website. Beeks was arrested there Tuesday and made his initial court appearance in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He was released later in the day.

It's unclear if Beeks has a lawyer.

Organizers of "Jesus Christ Superstar" did not immediately respond to request for comment Wednesday. Beeks also did not respond to a message seeking comment.

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