WASHINGTON — An Indiana man accused of assaulting police and filing a false report about a handgun he brought to the U.S. Capitol on January 6 will await trial behind bars, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
Mark Andrew Mazza appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui on Tuesday afternoon for a detention hearing and arraignment on 13 criminal counts for his alleged role in the Capitol riot. Mazza was arrested in late November and indicted by a federal grand jury this month on multiple felony counts, including assaulting police with a deadly or dangerous weapon and unlawfully carrying a firearm on Capitol grounds.
According to court documents, Mazza brought a Taurus revolver — loaded with three shotgun shells and two hollow point bullets — to the Capitol. The gun was recovered in the West Front Terrace area shortly after 2:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, prosecutors played footage they said showed Mazza in the crowd entering the tunnel to the Lower West Terrace doors at 3:08 p.m. The video shows Mazza holding the doors open in an apparent effort to allow rioters to go into the building. Mazza reportedly held a baton and pushed the group toward officers, who were defending the area, and assaulted them. According to court documents, Mazza swung the baton at police and yelled, "This is our f--- house! We own this house!"
After returning from the Capitol, prosecutors say Mazza filed a false police report claiming he’d lost the revolver at a casino in Ohio. The Justice Department alleges he actually dropped it while assaulting an officer outside the Capitol building.
Mazza’s attorney, Greg English, asked Faruqui to deny the DOJ’s request for pretrial detention. He said Mazza was a U.S. Army veteran who received 70% disability due to a deployment-related injury, and added that he had no criminal record except for a 20-year-old DUI and a simple battery conviction earlier this year. He also said Mazza was simply following what he believed to be the president’s orders on January 6.
"Your honor, this is a unique situation where the President of the United States called people to come to Washington and lied to them and essentially said the election had been stolen, where no credible evidence, to my knowledge, has been presented of that," English said.
After two days considering the arguments, Faruqui on Thursday ordered Mazza held – saying he believed the government had shown by clear and convincing evidence that he would be a threat to the public if released.
Faruqui said surveillance video showed Mazza was part of the “human sea” that attempted to crush police n the Lowest West Tunnel on January 6. He also said the video captured him showing off his “trophy” of the stolen police riot baton.
"Not only did he use that baton to harm others, he also prevented a law enforcement officer from doing his/her job,” Faruqui said.
The fact that Mazza also allegedly brought a loaded firearm with him onto Capitol grounds also weighed heavily on Faruqui’s decision.
"What's particularly concerning to me is that the defendant's firearm was loaded with shotgun shells and hollow-point bullets... which are significantly more lethal,” Faruqui said – adding that the gun showed Mazza’s alleged conduct on January 6 wasn’t just a “momentary lapse of judgment.”
Mazza faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding. A date had not yet been set for his next court appearance before a district judge.
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