Feds Drop Case Against Man Charged in Capitol Riot

Move in Christopher Kelly case appears to be a first
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 3, 2021 5:07 AM CDT
Feds Drop Case Against Man Charged in Capitol Riot
In this Jan. 6, 2021 photo, violent rioters storm the Capitol.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Federal prosecutors have dropped the criminal case against a New York man who was accused of participating in the Capitol riot, in what appears to be the first such move by the Justice Department in its sprawling Jan. 6 prosecution. The dismissal of the case against Christopher M. Kelly was disclosed on Wednesday, the same day prosecutors secured a second guilty plea by one of the more than 450 Capitol riot defendants. US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui agreed to dismiss the case against Kelly after prosecutors said in a court filing on Tuesday that they discussed the merits of the case with Kelly's lawyer and decided that ending the prosecution "serves the interests of justice" based on "the facts currently known to the government," the AP reports.

Faruqui agreed to dismiss the charges "without prejudice," which means the Justice Department could attempt to revive the case. Kelly was arrested in New York on Jan. 20 and faced charges of obstructing an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, violent entry and disorderly conduct, and unlawful entry to restricted buildings or grounds. In an affidavit, an FBI agent said it appeared that Kelly used a Facebook account to inform "associates" that he had breached the Capitol and was inside the building. Two days before the attack, he told another Facebook user that he planned to be in Washington "with ex NYPD and some proud boys," the agent said. But the only known photos of Kelly from the day of the riot show him outside the building, with no evidence he was inside, NBC New York reports.

(Read more Capitol attack stories.)

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