After multiple release violations, Schenectady man accused in Capitol riot ordered held until trial

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.  

SCHENECTADY – A judge in Washington Thursday ordered held until trial the Schenectady man accused of participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, federal court records show.

Brandon Fellows, of Schenectady, has been held since his June 15 arrest on allegations he repeatedly violated his release in the Capitol case, including that he obtained the phone number of his supervising probation officer’s mother, called her and even spoke with her. 

Fellows was then sent to Washington to appear before a judge there on the ultimate question of whether he would again be released.

Judge Trevor N. McFadden Thursday then ordered Fellows held, records show.

Fellows has drawn interest locally and from other outlets, including Bloomberg. This week, POLITICO senior legal affairs reporter Josh Gerstein tweeted details of Fellows’ Washington court appearances. 

“I don’t think you’re irredeemable or anything…I’ve tried really hard to avoid having to lock you up…I don’t think you’re going to allow us to help you…,” Gerstein quoted the judge as telling Fellows Thursday.

The judge’s ruling came after Fellows’ appearances over two days. Wednesday’s appearance ended as Fellows wanted to speak, but judge ordered another attorney brought in to speak with Fellows about the ramifications of that, Gerstein wrote.

On Thursday, Fellows apologized for his behavior, but also cited his “passions for politics,” Gerstein tweeted. 

A federal judge in Albany ruled that Fellows would be transported to Washington in custody, rather than released and allowed to travel on his own.

In doing so, the Albany 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.

Federal prosecutors alleged 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 had to appear there to address his ultimate release status.

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.

Other allegations leading prosecutors to ask for Fellows’ release to be revoked included him telling his probation officer of “his sexual performance abilities; description of his genital size; expression of displeasure that he is required to reside with his mother,” the Albany judge wrote last month. 

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.

POLITICO’s Gerstein also reported there had been a plea offer in Fellows’ case, to felony obstruction of congress with a possible 15 to 21 month sentence, but the talks hung up on a possible terrorism enhancement.

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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