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Virginia man declared fugitive after failing to appear for Capitol riot hearings

Michael Gareth Adams failed to appear for two hearings last July. On Tuesday, a federal judge declared him a fugitive.

WASHINGTON — A Virginia man who bragged he was one of the first people to enter the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 was officially declared a fugitive Tuesday, according to a new filing in D.C. District Court.

In a filing reassigning his case to the court’s scheduling committee, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras identified Michael Gareth Adams as a fugitive. Adams’ case had until Tuesday been assigned to U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly.

Court records show there hasn’t been any activity from Adams in his case since he failed to appear before Kelly for two status hearings in July. At the most recent of the two, on July 18, a pretrial services officer said when they attempted to contact Adams to notify him of the hearing his phone number had been disconnected. Kelly ordered pretrial services to determine if Adams was in compliance or not, and scheduled a follow-up hearing on Aug. 16 – but court records show that hearing never happened.

Fairfax County General Court records show Adams was found guilty in absentia on May 18, 2021 – two months prior to failing to appear for his Capitol riot hearing – after failing to appear for a hearing on charges of driving without a license. A bench warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest.

Since last July, the only filing in the case has been an update on the status of discovery, submitted by prosecutors on Dec. 29.

Adams was arrested in Alexandria, Virginia, in April 2021 on four misdemeanor counts. In a statement of facts filed in the case, prosecutors said at least four witnesses contacted the FBI about Adams’ alleged role in the Capitol riot.

Credit: Department of Justice
Michael Gareth Adams, of Virginia, is accused of being one of the first rioters to enter the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6., 2021.

In one tip, submitted in late February 2021, a witness said Adams told them he was “one of the first persons that entered the Capitol building.” Adams also allegedly showed the witness photographs and video from his cell phone showing him entering the building.

Investigators subsequently identified Adams in images and video from the riot appearing to show him entering the building with a Trump flag in one hand and a longboard in the other. According to court documents, the video showed Adams entering the parliamentarian’s office near the northwest door of the building and, hours later, captured on D.C. Police bodyworn camera video still on the premises of the building.

Adams was charged via information in June 2021 with four misdemeanors, including entering and remaining in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. If convicted, the most serious of those counts carry a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison – although other Capitol riot defendants who’ve been sentenced for the same offenses have commonly received sentences of 30-45 days in jail or, in many instances, probation with a fine.

Though Adams has not yet been charged with any new counts in connection to being declared a fugitive, federal law makes flight to avoid prosecution a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Adams isn’t the first riot defendant to be declared a fugitive. In July 2021, prosecutors charged five Floridians with assaulting police for hours on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. Four of them were arrested, but one, Jonathan Daniel Pollock, was never located. The FBI is currently offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Pollock, who they say should be considered armed and dangerous.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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