Capitol Riot Suspect Tricked Court to Let Him Go to CPAC: Feds

  • A Capitol riot suspect tricked a court into allowing him to attend CPAC, prosecutors allege.
  • The suspect asked the court if he could travel to Washington, DC to attend another Jan. 6 trial.
  • Instead, he spent more than 12 hours at CPAC schmoozing with fellow January 6 defendants, prosecutors allege.

A Capitol riot suspect fooled a court into allowing him to travel to Washington, DC earlier this month and attend the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he took selfies and “socialized” with fellow January 6 defendants, federal prosecutors alleged on Monday. 

Florida resident Gabriel Augustin Garcia, described in court papers as a former US Army captain and Proud Boys member, had requested permission from the federal district court in Washington, DC to travel to the nation’s capital to observe another January 6 defendant’s trial to assist with his own trial preparation, prosecutors said in a court filing. 

Garcia told the court he would travel in his RV and stay in Virginia or Maryland, and not Washington, DC.

“If I make any stops it will be to sleep along a rest stop,” Garcia told the United States Probation Office in a letter, according to the court papers. 

The court approved Garcia’s request on the condition that his trip was for “‘the limited purposes of attending’ a trial and meeting with defendant’s former pro hac vice attorney and/or current counsel,” court documents say. 

However, prosecutors say that on March 2, Garcia arrived in Alexandria, Virginia, and then “went straight” to National Harbor, Maryland, to attend CPAC, a multi-day annual political conference, where he stayed for more than four hours. 

The next day, Garcia attended a January 6 trial for “less than three hours” and then went back to CPAC for eight hours, from around 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to prosecutors. 

“It appears that defendant’s last-minute request to travel to Washington, DC, was not for the stated reason for the trip,” prosecutors wrote, claiming that Garcia “spent about 12.5 hours in National Harbor at CPAC DC 23, taking pictures and socializing with fellow January 6 defendants.”

Defense attorneys for Garica argued that his trip to CPAC “was not a violation of defendant’s conditions,” court papers say, and rejected the government’s claims on Monday. 

“The Government is mad that he went to CPAC, which was in Maryland. If he would have gone to the movies, they wouldn’t have cared. This is a political prosecution, and that’s why they’re upset,” attorney Aubrey Webb said in a statement to Insider.

Garcia went on to mock the situation on social media, prosecutors claimed.

“The issue is not that defendant attended a political event. The real problem is that defendant has repeatedly demonstrated that his representations to the Court should be doubted,” prosecutors said.

In connection to the Capitol riot, Garica has been charged with obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in restricted grounds, disruptive and disorderly conduct, and illegally parading and demonstrating in the Capitol building. Garcia has pleaded not guilty. 

The prosecutors said they plan to deny future travel requests by Garcia, claiming he “has continually taken advantage of the permissiveness of the Court with deceptive travel requests, and takes to social media to mock the process.”

They wrote in Monday’s filing that “it is apparent that defendant does not appreciate the gravity of the situation he is in and he does not respect this Court’s authority.”

Garcia’s attorney said his client “does respect the court’s authority.”

“And he didn’t violate the court’s order,” he continued. “He arrived in Virginia too late on March 2 to make it to the courthouse to observe the proceedings. And he observed a trial on March 3.”

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