Schenectady

Feds: Capitol riot defendant violated release, rearrested; called probation officer’s mother

Brandon Fellows (inset) and supporters of President Donald Trump outside the Capitol Jan. 6.  FBI (INSET) AP PHOTO/JOHN MINCHILLO (BACKGROUND)

Brandon Fellows (inset) and supporters of President Donald Trump outside the Capitol Jan. 6.  

The Schenectady man accused of participating in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot has been rearrested for violating the terms of his release, authorities said.

Federal prosecutors allege that Brandon Fellows, 27, skipped a court-ordered mental health evaluation and then obtained the phone number of his supervising probation officer’s mother, called her and spoke with her.

Fellows, a Niskayuna High School graduate, faces multiple charges related to the riot, including a top count of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, a charge that carries a potential of years in federal prison upon conviction.

Fellows was taken into custody Tuesday and appeared in court in Albany both Tuesday and Wednesday, officials said.

He must, however, appear in person before the judge in Washington, D.C. handling his Capitol riot case, Albany-based federal prosecutor Michael Barnett said.

Wednesday’s appearance concerned how he would get there, whether in custody or allowed to go on his own. The judge heard arguments, but had yet to rule as of late Wednesday afternoon. Fellows is to remain in custody until at least the judge’s ruling, Barnett said.

Fellows has been allowed to remain free since his January arrest, but under increasingly restrictive conditions. Federal prosecutors have twice before asked for his release to be revoked. A judge disagreed both times, but first ordered him under home detention and then, June 4, ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation and comply with all treatment recommendations.

However, prosecutors reported in a new motion Monday that he not only skipped the mental health evaluation, but attempted to intimidate his supervising probation officer by contacting the officer’s mother.

Fellows’ mental health evaluation had been set for late Monday morning, according to the prosecution’s motion. Fellows, however, called and canceled, contending he wasn’t feeling well.

When the probation officer, referred to in the motion as a “USPO,” spoke with him, Fellows instead asked to be able to work, despite “not feeling great.”

“He was told no, then asked the USPO officer, ‘Have you checked your hormones?'” the prosecution motion reads.

He was called again and ordered to report to the probation office by 3:45 p.m. Monday.

“Shortly after that last call, the USPO officer learned that a man had called the USPO’s mother, who lives in another state, and the man was asking for the USPO and asked twice if that was the correct number for the USPO, using the full name of the officer,” the motion reads. “The mother offered to pass a message to the USPO, and the caller said he would just contact the USPO on their ‘other numbers.'”

The mother’s caller ID identified the caller’s number as the same number used by Fellows to contact the probation office for official business, the motion reads.

The motion also included apparently newly discovered, but old, information related to similar conduct with a family member of a court official. The incident involved allegations of Fellows harassing a former girlfriend. He was found to be in violation of an order of protection.

“When the clerk of the court tried to call Defendant at the number he had listed as his contact on official court records, the number was forwarded to the Judge’s wife’s office.”

The federal prosecutor asked that Fellows be held, arguing Fellows has had “ample opportunities” to remain free pending trial.

Fellows has now “gone past ignoring the court and into the dangerous areas of intimidation and harassment,” the prosecutor wrote. “As such the United States agrees that he poses a threat to the community, supports the issuance of the warrant requested, and moves for the defendant’s revocation of his pre-trial release status.”

The allegations follow two previous unsuccessful moves by prosecutors to have Fellows’ release revoked over prior instances.

A judge last month ordered Fellows back on home detention after prosecutors presented violations of the conditions of his release, including failing to notify those monitoring him of a new misdemeanor petty larceny arrest in Clifton Park.

Then, federal prosecutors moved for a second time to have Fellows’ release revoked, contending he “left a ‘very disturbing’ voice mail for his supervision officer” that “shows a lack of respect for the court and its personnel, as well as a continued failure to understand the seriousness of the situation.”
Fellows’ attorney opposed the second effort to revoke his client’s bail and instead suggested mandating his client participate in mental health services.

The judge allowed him to remain free under the previous conditions, including home detention, but added the mental health evaluation requirement.

He faces one count each of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; entering and remaining in certain rooms of the Capitol building; and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.

Interviewed by Bloomberg news service after the riot, Fellows told the publication he drove to Washington after seeing a tweet from then-President Donald Trump and said he went just to hear the president speak.

Bloomberg reported that Fellows not only went into the Capitol with the rioters, but propped his feet on a senator’s table while smoking a marijuana joint, heckled officers and posted videos online. It appears he was in the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon. A photograph also shows him sitting on a police motorcycle outside the Capitol wearing a fake red beard.

Categories: News, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

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