WASHINGTON — A federal judge rejected a request this week from several Oath Keeper defendants in the January 6 investigation to file a lengthy brief about COVID-19 vaccines, saying he wouldn’t allow the case to become a “forum for bombastic arguments.”
In a motion filed Saturday, attorneys Brad Geyer and Jonathon Moseley, who represent Oath Keepers Kenneth Harrelson and Kelly Meggs, respectively, asked U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta to allow them to file a 130-page brief arguing their clients should be released from custody because the D.C. Jail is trying to force them to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Jail officials say they do not require residents to receive the vaccine, but that nearly 1,400 have chosen to receive it voluntarily.
In their request to go above the D.C. District Court’s 45-page filing limit, Geyer and Moseley claim the jail is violating “numerous laws, both international and domestic,” by trying to make their clients get vaccinated without their informed consent. According to the motion, Meggs says he is unable to get the COVID-19 vaccine for unspecified medical reasons, and Harrelson claims taking the vaccine “presents for him a crisis of faith.”
The motion also includes a two-page outline of the larger brief Geyer and Moseley say they’d like to file. According to the outline, the brief would include sections entitled “SCOTUS Could Not Have Foreseen the Holocaust,” “Patents Hinting at Undisclosed Ingredients,” “A Human Experiment Unlike Any Other,” “Mandatory Everything” and “C19 Conspiracy Structure.”
In a minute order issued Monday, Mehta shot down that plan.
“Whatever motion Defendants intend to file, the court will stop reading it after page 45,” Mehta wrote. “The court will not allow this case to become a forum for bombastic arguments… or propagating fringe views about COVID-19 or vaccinations.”
Mehta also pointed out the D.C. Jail does not require residents to receive the vaccine, and that if the attorneys intend to claim otherwise they should file a five-page brief establishing evidence of such a policy.
Studies have consistently found the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control reports more than 414 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the U.S. since December 2020. The Food and Drug Administration granted has granted emergency approvals for use of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in adults and full approval for use of the Pfizer vaccine in anyone 16 years and older. Late last month, the FDA also granted emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine in children between the ages of 5 and 11.
This isn’t the first time Mehta has admonished defense attorneys over attempts to use court hearings to air their own political opinions. In September, he lectured attorney David Fischer over a change of venue motion in which Fischer claimed residents of D.C. “despite many things traditional Americans stand for.”
Mehta told Fischer his filing read “less like a legal brief than something you might read on a blog.”
“And that’s not acceptable,” Mehta said. “I expect better from you. I expect better from everybody in this courtroom.”
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