Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Colorado man who the FBI says brought guns and thousands of rounds of ammo to last week’s insurrection but arrived late, briefly appeared before a judge Wednesday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey punted on deciding whether Mr. Meredith should remain in federal custody, however. The detention hearing lasted roughly minutes and was rescheduled for Thursday.
Mr. Meredith had traveled more than halfway across the country to arrive on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., albeit not until after the U.S. Capitol was stormed that afternoon by supporters of President Trump.
In documents unsealed before the hearing, officials said Mr. Meredith sent text messages the day after the siege in which he discussed killing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The FBI learned about one of the messages after it was sent Thursday and soon determined where Mr. Meredith was staying in D.C., special agent Donald August Mockenhaupt said in a court filing.
FBI agents subsequently went to speak with Mr. Meredith at a Holiday Inn near the Capitol, where he consented to searches of his room, phone, his truck and attached trailer, Mr. Mockenhaupt wrote.
Michael R. Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for Washington, D.C., said that FBI agents uncovered found a number of concerning text messages, a rifle, a Glock and over 2,500 rounds of ammunition.
In a statement of facts submitted by Mr. Mockenhaupt, the FBI agent said that Mr. Meredith then acknowledged having both firearms in his trailer and admitted knowing they are illegal under local law.
Mr. Mockenhaupt said Mr. Meredith also admitted sending text messages that he then showed to FBI agents, including several that Mr. Sherwin argues demonstrates he is a clear danger to the community.
In one of the messages, dated Jan. 6, Mr. Meredith said that he just had his pickup truck repaired in Columbus, Ohio, and was headed toward D.C. with a large among of “armor-piercing ammo.”
“Thinking about heading over to Pelosi c–‘s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV,” reads one of the other text messages, allegedly sent by Mr. Meredith the next day while in D.C.
“I may wander over to the Mayor’s office and put a 5.56 in her skull,” Mr. Meredith allegedly said in another message, referring to a type of ammunition that authorities uncovered during the searches.
The U.S. Department of Justice last week requested and received permission to temporarily hold Mr. Meredith, and early Wednesday the government said he should remain detained until his case is over.
“A clearly disturbed, deranged and dangerous individual that fantasizes about committing horrific acts of violence and takes countless steps to carry them out by driving across several states with a trailer stocked with thousands of rounds of ammunition and multiple firearms — including an assault style rifle — should not remain in the community,” Mr. Sherwin wrote for the Justice Department.
Ubong E. Akpan, a public defender representing Mr. Meredith, submitted her opposing memorandum in support of his release from custody shortly before the detention hearing was held Wednesday.
The magistrate ordered the government to respond to her memo in writing and rescheduled the hearing for Thursday afternoon.
Mr. Sherwin said Mr. Meredith is accused of transmitting a threat in violation of federal law, as well as misdemeanor possession of an unregistered firearm and ammunition in violation of D.C. law.
He is among dozens of people charges so far in connection with last week’s insurrection. Mr. Sherwin said Tuesday that he has instructed his office to pursue sedition charges where appropriate.
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