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Lawyer for alleged capitol rioter asks judge to allow house arrest

Alex Harkrider (Source: Gregg County Jail)
Alex Harkrider (Source: Gregg County Jail)(Gregg County Jail)
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 3:35 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Accused U.S. Capitol rioter Alex Harkrider should be released from federal detention and placed on house arrest pending full trial. At least, that’s the argument Harkrider’s lawyer is attempting.

According to a motion to revoke order of detention obtained by KLTV, Harkrider’s attorney, Kira Anne West, is arguing that it would be proper to release Harkrider into house arrest due to conditions which “will reasonably assure Mr. Harkrider’s presence at trial and the safety of the community.” Harkrider, 34, of Carthage, was arrested alongside Ryan Nichols, 30, of Longview for their alleged participation in the U.S. Capitol riot that took place on Jan. 9.

“Notwithstanding the charges at issue, Mr. Harkrider should not be considered to be within (the) limited group for whom pretrial detention is appropriate. It is apparent from the (Bail Reform) Act’s legislative history, as well as the statutorily mandated consideration of the least restrictive alternatives to detention, that Congress contemplated pretrial detention of only a small percentage of the individuals awaiting trial,” the motion stated. “Mr. Harkrider is among that majority for whom a combination of conditions short of detention without bond can be fashioned to “reasonably assure” the safety of the community and his appearance for trial.”

West argued that while Harkrider’s charges include both misdemeanors and felonies, all are for non-violent offenses and relate primarily to being on restricted U.S. Capitol grounds.

“Mr. Harkrider has not been positively identified in any of the videotapes or photographs. Assuming the government can identify him, he never damaged anything. He never caused any damage to the Capitol area and never committed any act of violence,” the motion said. “Importantly, he went to the Capitol at the invitation of his co-defendant, had no leadership role, did not engage in prior planning, was not part of any conspiracy, did not coordinate with anyone, and was not aligned with any group before or after January 6, 2021. Unlike others, he did not use or flaunt any weapon; he did not have handcuffs, flex cuffs, or promote their use. He simply went to hear the speeches and exercise his constitutional right to protest. He never encouraged misconduct by others. He never damaged federal property, never threatened law enforcement and had nothing to say about the Electoral College. The evidence submitted by the government is full of misrepresentations and assumptions.”

Further, West argues that it was no unreasonable for Harkrider to have marched from the site of President Donald Trump’s speech to the site of the riot given that Trump issued an “empty assurance” that he would join the crowd in their protest.

“[A]s previously argued by the defendant, there is no threat of future violence ... no history of violence, no criminal history and no affiliation with any group such as the Oath Keepers or Proud Boys,” the motion stated. “Thus when considering Mr. Harkrider’s behavior in the context of what happened on January 6th, Trump’s empty assurance of “I’ll be with you,” it is not remarkable that several non-violent protesters found themselves in the Capitol alongside the few that were violent”

Additionally, West claimed that Harkrider was merely following Nichols and that a selection of minor factual errors made by the FBI in reporting on Harkrider are evidence enough that her client should not be considered too dangerous to be released from federal custody and placed on house arrest.

Harkrider and Nichols were given a 13-count indictment by a federal grand jury in February. Harkrider is accused of theft of government property for allegedly stealing a table leg. He is also accused of carrying a tomahawk axe into the Capitol building.

Both Harkrider and Nichols were previously set to be arraigned this month, however a federal judge has abandoned that arraignment plan.

Previous reporting:

Federal judge rules to detain Longview, Carthage men accused in siege of US Capitol

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