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Trump appointee charged in Capitol riot not a 'substantial' threat to community, judge rules

Even though Federico Klein showed a "demonstrated willingness to use force to advance his personal beliefs," a federal judge has ordered him released.

WASHINGTON — A former State Department appointee of President Donald Trump will be released from jail while he awaits trial on charges related to the Capitol riot following a ruling by a federal judge Monday.

Federico Klein was the first Trump appointee to be charged in the case. He faces six charges, including allegations that he attacked officers with a police riot shield. He’s also accused of inciting the mob inside the Capitol tunnels, allegedly yelling, “… we need fresh people…” as part of the first wave battling officers.

Klein resigned from the State Department two weeks after the riot, and was arrested in March after a number of witnesses, including a former State Department co-worker, saw his picture on an FBI wanted poster and turned him in.

In March, a federal magistrate judge ordered him detained until trial. Federal prosecutors had pointed to his “violent and enthusiastic participation” in the Capitol riot as reason to hold him behind bars.

On Monday, however U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates reversed that decision, ruling the 42-year-old Annandale, Virginia, resident could be released on GPS monitoring and home detention.

Ruling that it was a “close call,” Bates said Klein does not pose a “substantial prospective threat to the community,” despite his “demonstrated willingness to use force to advance his personal beliefs.”

“Klein’s conduct on January 6 showed an obvious disregard for the safety of others and for the country,” Bates wrote. “The government has shown by clear and convincing evidence that he employed persistent force against multiple officers, repeatedly pressing a stolen riot shield against them to gain entry into the Capitol building and stop the certification of the election… There is no evidence, however, that he injured an officer or anyone else, or that he destroyed any federal property – or that he sought to do either.”

Bates pointed to Klein’s lack of a past criminal history and lack of efforts to obstruct the FBI’s investigation as further support for his decision.

Bates ordered Klein released as soon as practical. Then next court date in the case is set for May 10 at 10 a.m.

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