A judge denied a request from a Jan. 6 defendant to push back the start of her trial to allow time to review about 44,000 hours of Capitol riot footage from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg acknowledged that the ask from defendant Sara Carpenter is ‘certainly not a frivolous request by any means,’ but said the defense failed to clarify why any additional footage would be exculpatory, Politico reported. Carpenter, a retired NYPD officer, is facing two felony charges over the Capitol riot.
Boasberg, who is soon to become Washington D.C.’s chief district court judge, also argued that delaying trials for Carpenter and other Jan. 6 defendants to allow time to review the Capitol and police surveillance footage from McCarthy’s office could ‘derail dozens of trials that are set in the next few months.’
Prosecutors say they already provided Carpenter with an ‘overwhelming’ amount of CCTV footage documenting her 34 minutes inside the Capitol building, leaving only ‘a matter of seconds’ unaccounted for.
They say they’ve been left in the dark as to what McCarthy’s footage might add.
‘We don’t have what the speaker has,’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Cook said during Friday’s hearing, according to Politico. ‘In any case, there’s always the possibility some information may be out there.’
In 2021, Capitol police already shared some 14,000 hours of footage – including the hours of noon to 8 p.m. on Jan. 6 – to Trum House impeachment managers and two House committees investigating the riot that interrupted Congress certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
In requesting a 60-day delay in the trial, Carpenter’s attorneys argued some of McCarthy’s footage might help fill the ‘gaps’ and provide more context to the defendant’s actions inside the Capitol.
Prosecutors are required to provide defendants with any potentially exculpatory evidence they might bring in the case, but limits exist when dealing with another agency, such as Capitol Police, which is an arm of Congress, or if the court deems the government has acted in good faith in turning over as much material as possible.
The Justice Department, in bringing cases against more than 950 defendants in connection to Jan. 6, 2021, has already cited a massive cache of video evidence including from Capitol security cameras, police body cameras, journalists and demonstrators themselves, who recorded hundreds of hours worth of footage.
The DOJ reportedly has not indicated whether it will attempt to review the footage from McCarthy’s office.
Other Jan. 6 defendants, including Proud Boys on trial for seditious conspiracy, have questioned how the tens of thousands of hours of footage will affect their cases.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, the Republican chairman of the House Administration Committee’s oversight subpanel, has reportedly said the footage from McCarthy’s office would also be made available to Jan. 6 defendants on a case-by-case basis to ensure they’re afforded due process.