6 Attorneys Allege DOJ Seeking Retribution Against Journalist For Recent Jan. 6 Coverage

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jan 23, 2024 - 03:20 AM

Authored by Joseph Hanneman via The Epoch Times,

Attorneys for a journalist threatened with prosecution for being at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, are challenging federal prosecutors to try his case outside the District of Columbia, suggesting prosecutors are seeking retribution for his recent reporting on possible Capitol Police perjury and the Jan. 6 pipe bombs.

Six attorneys who said they volunteered to represent Stephen Baker of Raleigh, N.C., released a statement on Jan. 22 expressing belief that the DOJ is seeking even more serious Jan. 6 charges as retaliation.

Mr. Baker, a former independent journalist, now writes for Blaze Media.

We now have information that Steve’s reporting has so agitated officials in multiple federal agencies that an effort is now underway to find a basis to charge Steve with more serious crimes and to use those more serious crimes as a pretext for early morning raids to execute search and arrest warrants on him and his family,” the statement read.

“If this is true, and search and arrest warrants are used to drag Steve out of his house in the early morning hours someday soon, that will be evidence of retaliation against a journalist exercising his First Amendment rights to report information that is embarrassing to government officials.”

The statement is signed by five well-known Jan. 6 defense attorneys: James Lee Bright, Brad Geyer, Phillip Linder, William Shipley, and Edward Tarpley Jr. It was also signed by Mr. Baker’s Raleigh-based attorney, Matthew Ceradini.

Mr. Geyer and Mr. Shipley were federal prosecutors for more than two decades.

“After not having indicted me for three years, it is clear that any move to do so now will be in retaliation for my reporting,” Mr. Baker wrote in a news release.

“I will not be intimidated. I will continue to report the findings of my investigation into the evidence being made available to me to review,” he said.

Questions Over Jurisdiction

The attorneys challenged the DOJ to try any case against Mr. Baker in the eastern district of North Carolina where Mr. Baker lives, or the northern district of Texas, where his employer, Blaze Media, is located.

“Are citizens of those two districts not suitable jurors in Steve’s case?” the statement asked.

“Is the federal judiciary in those two districts not able to provide a fair and impartial trial?

“On what basis does the United States Department of Justice believe the ‘United States’ can only get a fair trial in the District of Columbia and not one of those ‘United’ States?”

The Epoch Times asked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for comment, but did not receive a response before press time.

Mr. Baker’s most recent coverage identified the person who found one of the two pipe bombs on Jan. 6 as an undercover U.S. Capitol Police officer and not a “passerby.”

Since October 2023, he wrote a series of stories that said events described under oath by two Capitol Police officers in the first Oath Keepers trial in 2022 could not have happened, based on Mr. Baker’s examination of security video.

Mr. Geyer suggested that reporting should result in the Oath Keepers’ convictions being thrown out.

Mr. Baker was one of dozens of journalists at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

His video footage appeared in an HBO film and was licensed by the BBC, The New York Times, and The Epoch Times.

Mr. Baker was first contacted by the FBI in July 2021 about his presence at the Capitol. He voluntarily sat down with FBI special agents in November 2021. He said he was told the DOJ was considering charging him with interstate racketeering because he received money from licensing his Jan. 6 video.

In March 2023, he said he was warned by a high-profile journalist that his reporting was chafing some high-level DOJ officials.

In August, he was served a subpoena for his Jan. 6 video.

In December, the FBI told his attorney that his arrest was imminent, although that plan was subsequently delayed.