James Bonet, a Glens Falls man charged with illegally entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, was released under supervision after an initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon.
Bonet, who was represented by a federal public defender, faces two federal charges in connection with his involvement in storming the Capitol earlier this month: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, which could carry up to one year in prison and as much as a $100,000 fine, and; disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, which could carry up to six months in prison.
The case will ultimately be transferred to federal court in the District of Columbia, but Northern District of New York Magistrate Judge Daniel Stewart on Wednesday managed the hearing to set conditions for Bonet’s release.
While the federal prosecutor in the case asked that Bonet face GPS monitoring, Stewart, crediting Bonet for turning himself into the FBI on Wednesday morning, ordered a strict curfew but did not require electronic monitoring. Stewart, calling the allegations against Bonet a matter of “extreme concern,” emphasized the importance of Bonet following his release conditions.
Tim Austin, Bonet’s public defender, said Bonet planned to adhere to the court’s instructions.
“I think he’s demonstrated already that his intention is to follow the court’s direction,” Austin said.
By contrast, Brandon Fellows, a 26-year-old Niskayuna man who faces the same pair of charges for storming the Capitol, was released on an unsecured $25,000 bond and on condition of electronic monitoring. In Bonet’s hearing, Stewart noted that Fellows had not similarly turned himself over to police.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Rosenthal, said prosecutors in Washington D.C. would eventually take over the case and that he was not authorized to offer any type of plea agreement. In arguing to limit Bonet’s travel to Washington only for court appearance, Rosenthal highlighted the severity of the crimes Bonet was alleged to have committed.
“The defendant is accused of serious crimes that include obvious disregard for law enforcement and the law,” Rosenthal said.
The federal charging documents filed against Bonet contend Bonet filmed himself before entering the Capitol and once inside. At one point, one of the videos depicted Bonet inside smoking what appeared to be a joint, a witness told investigators.
Stewart also emphasized that Bonet would need to submit to regular drug tests while under court supervision. He said that if Bonet violated his release conditions it was possible he would be taken into custody pending a trial.
“A lot is at stake here,” Stewart said. “I fully expect you will be able to comply with the conditions and we will not have an issue.”