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Tucker Carlson defended the Capitol-riot suspect who was pictured carrying zip-tie handcuffs.
Carlson said a judge's earlier characterization of him as dangerous was misleading.
The host has long sought to portray the response to the riot as a bid to persecute conservatives.
The Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday defended Eric Munchel, whom prosecutors identified as the man pictured in the US Senate chamber in tactical gear with zip-tie handcuffs during the Capitol riot.
The image became one of the defining scenes of the unrest on January 6. He was later arrested along with his mother, Lisa Eisenhart, who was also accused of storming the Capitol.
In a monologue Tuesday night, Carlson criticized a decision by a judge to hold the pair in custody until their trial because they were deemed dangerous. The decision was later overturned by a different judge, and the two were freed under house arrest last week.
"Neither Lisa Eisenhart or her son damaged any property in the Capitol or committed any violence - they just walked in to what we used to refer to as 'The People's House," Carlson said.
"And yet somehow Joe Biden's Justice Department convinced a federal judge that Lisa Eisenhart was quote 'a threat to our Republic' and her son was a 'would-be martyr.' Keep in mind, these are people whose crime was trespassing in the Capitol. We're not endorsing that, but some perspective please."
Both Munchel and Eisenhart have been charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds; conspiracy; and civil disorder. They deny the charges.
The pair were release from custody last week to await trial under home confinement in Tennessee. They were allowed to leave custody thanks to a ruling from a federal appeals court, which drew a distinction between violent and nonviolent rioters, the Associated Press reported.
The ruling overturned a decision by a US district judge, who had said the pair were extremists, too dangerous to be released.
Federal agents had been investigating whether Munchel or others carrying zip-tie restraints had planned on taking hostages. No evidence of such plans has emerged publicly, The Washington Post reported.
Munchel has argued in court filings that he found the zip-tie handcuffs on a table inside the Capitol and took them to ensure they weren't used by the police to restrain protestors and did not enter carrying them.
According to the AP, prosecutors allege that Munchel and Eisenhart wore bulletproof tactical vests while storming the Capitol, that Munchel carried a stun gun, and that the pair stashed weapons in a bag outside the building before entering.
Carlson has long sought to portray the reaction to the January 6 violence as overblown and the Biden administration's push to clamp down on far-right extremism as a covert bid to persecute ordinary conservatives.
Michael Sherwin, a federal prosecutor who led the investigation into the Capitol riot until March, told CBS News that the Justice Department was pursuing 400 criminal cases in relation to the riot.
He said that of those defendants "the majority of those, 80, 85%, maybe even 90," had been charged with nonviolent offenses but that 100 were also charged with violence against the police. He also said 25 people were charged with destroying federal property and more than 25 with conspiracy.
Read the original article on Business Insider