Pennsylvania man arrested on trial for pepper spraying police during Capitol Riot

A federal judge has ruled that there is probable cause in the case against a man accused of spraying at least two officers with an irritant during the violent siege of the Capitol in January.

During a probable cause hearing Thursday, federal prosecutors presented videos and photos of the Jan. 6 Capitol headquarters which they said show Peter Schwartz, of Owensboro, Ky., Wearing a jacket in distinctive orange and blue pattern holding a large pepper spray canister, spraying agents with a small irritant spray and swinging a wooden baton. Prosecutors presented text messages from Schwartz’s phone where he told a friend he took pepper spray from officers and another where he says he took their blood.

  • Following: Pennsylvania Ranks # 2 in Residents Charged in U.S. Capitol Riot

Authorities say Schwartz rented a house and worked as a traveling welder in Uniontown, Pa., Where he was arrested on February 4. disorderly conduct.

Schwartz’s attorney Jay Finkelstein argued during the hearing that none of the videos of the chaotic scenes on Capitol Hill clearly showed agents spraying Schwartz or inside the Capitol.

“There is conflicting evidence… this is not a case where the video is final,” Finkelstein said.

But US investigating judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan said in her brief order that there was “no doubt that there was a probable cause” in the case.

Schwartz, who has an arrest warrant in Kentucky, will be transferred to Washington, DC, to be prosecuted there. Finkelstein said he would request a release hearing once there.

FBI agent Matt Solomon said Thursday that Schwartz was wearing what appeared to be the same jacket when he was arrested. Solomon said several tricks identified a suspicious image released by the FBI as being Schwartz, including a tip from someone who forwarded Schwartz’s Facebook page that contained messages about his presence on Capitol Hill. This tipster said Schwartz was released from prison due to COVID-19 and was living in a rehab home in Owensboro, court documents show.

Officers also examined Schwartz’s phone. Solomon said it contained texts from Schwartz telling another person that he had briefly been inside the Capitol, claiming he had “thrown in the first chair” and got things started, claiming he had taken pepper spray from officers of the Capitol, distributed it and used it on other officers, and said he had obtained their blood.

The texts also contained a photo of what officers believe to be Schwartz’s hand holding a pull ring from an irritating spray. One of Schwartz’s texts said he should be in federal prison for his acts of patriotism, but God had watched over him and his wife.

Schwartz appeared from the Beaver County Detention Center on a video line. He only said a few words during the hearing. Prosecutors updated their request for detention earlier this week, adding Schwartz’s previous Kentucky convictions including resisting arrest, assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a gun. as reasons why they thought he should remain in detention.

Meanwhile, a DC federal district judge has dismissed an appeal by federal prosecutors seeking to keep Rachel Powell of Pennsylvania in custody while she awaits trial on charges arising from the siege of the Capitol. Judge Lenihan had allowed Powell, who has been charged with obstruction, violent entry into the Capitol and other counts, to be returned to house arrest earlier this week.

Prosecutors allege the Sandy Lake mother-of-eight is seen in videos telling other rioters how to navigate the Capitol, including the layout of windows that had to be smashed to access different areas.

Following:

Pennsylvania teacher’s trip to Washington on the day of the Capitol riots leads to calls for his dismissal and a few words of support

Capitol rioters acted on Trump’s ‘order’, impeachment prosecutors insist at trial

Michigan Senator Supports ‘Hoax’ Comment on Capitol Riots As Colleagues Criticize His ‘Conspiracy Theorisation’

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