DC Judge Releases Jan. 6 Defendant From Prison

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., recently granted a request by Jan. 6 defendant Kevin Seefried to be released from prison. The decision is at odds with prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) who claimed that the defendant posed a “heightened” danger in an election year.

U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, appointed by then-President Donald Trump, granted Seefried’s request, writing in an 11-page order that prosecutors could not prove that the Jan. 6 defendant posed a threat or that “events that led to the riot are reasonably likely to recur.”

The Washington Examiner reported that Seefried was sentenced to three years behind bars in February 2024 for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, protests. He was charged with obstructing an official proceeding and four trespassing and disorderly conduct misdemeanors, with all charges amounting to a 23-year prison sentence.

After he was convicted, Seefried appealed the verdict and moved for his prison release pending appeal. His request came before the U.S. Supreme Court took up a Jan. 6 defendants case known as Fischer v. U.S. The case centers around how the obstruction statute 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c) is applied in the cases of defendants charged with violating the code.

In December 2023, the High Court agreed to hear the Fischer case and scheduled oral arguments for April 16, 2024. At the time, the judge said Seefried’s issue was “again alive,” adding that his felony conviction could be dismissed depending on how the Supreme Court justices ruled in the case.

McFadden’s ruling directly contradicts recent allegations made by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, who claimed that granting Seefried’s request would be “releasing defendant into the same political maelstrom that led him to commit his crimes in the first place.”

“The prospect of this additional time may make it more likely that he flees rather than returning to prison,” Graves said at the time.

On March 27, 2024, McFadden said the law demands Seefried be released from behind bars because the defendant demonstrated that he is “not likely to flee or pose a danger to … the community if released” and that the federal government did not prove that Seefried is “likely to reoffend.”