Trump appointee Federico Klein ordered to remain in custody over Capitol riot: ‘Enemy at the heart of American democracy’

Justin Vallejo
·2 min read
A mob of supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on 6 January 2021 ((Reuters))
A mob of supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC, on 6 January 2021 ((Reuters))

A former State Department official appointed by the Trump administration will remain in custody pending a trial over his alleged role in the US Capitol riot, a magistrate judge has ruled.

Federico Klein, who held top-secret security clearance and was reportedly a Trump campaign transition staffer, is the first known political appointee charged in connection to the events of 6 January.

In ordering pretrial detention for Mr Klein, Judge Zia Faruqui agreed with prosecutors that his position as a federal employee with security clearance worked against him because he took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, according to BuzzFeed News.

"There were enemies, domestic, directly at the heart of America's democracy and a person who has sworn an oath to protect, then switched sides. It’s extremely concerning," Judge Farqui said.

In a filing on Tuesday, first reported by CNN, prosecutors wrote that Mr Klein’s behaviour “revealed that his true allegiance lies elsewhere”.

"Despite his oath to support and defend the Constitution, Klein demonstrated his contempt for that oath, the legitimate functions of the government, and for the Constitution itself when he assaulted officers in an attempt to stop the certification of a lawful election," prosecutors wrote to the court.

"By his actions on January 6, 2021, Klein abdicated his responsibilities to the country and the Constitution."

Mr Klein, 42, was listed last summer in a federal directory as a special assistant in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and “Schedule C” political appointees.

He was arrested in Virginia on Thursday, 4 March on charges related to his participation in the riot at the Capitol on 6 January.

The arrest affidavit, first reported by Politico, alleged Mr Klein was seen on video wearing a red MAGA hat jamming a riot shield into doors at the Capitol. He was also allegedly heard encouraging others to clash with police, the complaint said.

"We need fresh people, we need fresh people,” Mr Klein shouted repeatedly, according to the complaint.

He is facing several felony charges, including assaulting police officers, interfering with police during civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, as well as lesser offences.

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