ALBANY – The Schenectady man accused of participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has been ordered transported to Washington, D.C., to face accusations he violated his release in the riot case, including by calling his probation officer’s mother.
A federal judge in Albany Wednesday ruled that Brandon Fellows would be transported, rather than released and allowed to travel on his own.
In doing so, the judge indicated he did not believe Fellows’ explanations for his conduct — including that he simply sought the officer’s number and inadvertently found one for the officer’s out-of-state mother.
“Successful supervision requires cooperation and compliance of the Defendant. Mr. Fellows has not provided that, and his conduct to date has been both boorish and alarming,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart wrote in his decision issued Wednesday. “Probation officers in this district, and others, are professionals, but there is certainly a limit to the type of conduct those officers should be subjected to … it appears a limit has been reached in this case.”
Fellows was taken into custody on June 15 on allegations he violated his release in the Capitol case. He has remained in custody since.
Federal prosecutors allege most recently that 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.
The Capitol case is based in Washington and he must appear there to address the ultimate question of whether he will again be released, or be held pending trial.
There was no indication Thursday when his appearance in Washington would be held.
Fellows had been allowed to remain free since his January arrest but under increasingly restrictive conditions. Federal prosecutors 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 on June 14 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. Filings since have indicated his alleged reason: An early-morning thunderstorms had his sleep schedule off.
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.
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would be creating a select committee to investigate the assault on the U.S. Capitol back on Jan. 6, according to reports.