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The Department of Justice issued this news release Friday regarding the involvement of Arab resident Joshua James at the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol:
Two individuals associated with the Oath Keepers, a large but loosely organized collection of individuals who explicitly focus on the recruitment of current and former military, law enforcement and first responder personnel, were indicted (Wednesday) in federal court in the District of Columbia for conspiring to obstruct Congress, among other charges. James and Minuta are the 11th and 12th defendants to be charged in this case.
Joshua James, 33, of Arab, Alabama, was arrested on March 9, 2021 in Arab, Alabama; and Roberto Minuta, 36, of Prosper, Texas, was arrested on March 7, 2021, in Newburgh, New York. Both individuals were charged by superseding indictment with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. If convicted, James and Minuta each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
According to the charging documents, James and Minuta communicated with co-conspirators in advance of the Jan. 6, 2021, incursion on the U.S. Capitol. The indictment alleges frequent and consistent communication leading up to the attack, such as in reserving hotel rooms and making phone calls to co-conspirators the morning of the breach.
According to the indictment, in response to a call for individuals to head to the Capitol after the building was breached, James and Minuta drove to the Capitol in a golf cart, at times swerving around law enforcement vehicles with Minuta stating, “Patriots are storming the Capitol…so we’re en route in a grand theft auto golf cart to the Capitol building right now…it’s going down guys; it’s literally going down right now Patriots storming the Capitol building…”
Once they arrived, Minuta aggressively berated and taunted law enforcement officers in riot gear guarding the perimeter of the Capitol near the East side of the building. At 3:15 p.m., Minuta and James forcibly entered the Capitol building through the same east side Rotunda doors through which their alleged co-conspirators had entered earlier.
They then stormed the building, wearing military gear. Minuta additionally wore hard-knuckle tactical gloves, ballistic goggles, a radio with an earpiece and bear spray. Video captures Minuta yelling at an officer: “All that’s left is the Second Amendment!” as he exited the building at 3:19 p.m. Not long after 4:00 p.m., individuals who breached the Capitol – including James, Minuta and many of their alleged co-conspirators – gathered together approximately 100 feet from the Capitol near the northeast corner of the building.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Southern District of New York, Eastern District of Texas and Northern District of Alabama. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s New York, Dallas, Birmingham and Washington Field Offices.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
Update: Joshua James will remain in custody, pending a trial in Washington D.C.
The judge found the government presented enough evidence and expressed concerns about James’ access to firearms. The judge also said there’s a substantial amount of evidence supporting the charges.
A man from Arab charged for his role in the U.S. Capitol riot is in court on Thursday in Birmingham.
Joshua James has a detention hearing. Either his bond will be set while he is continued to be held in federal custody or a judge will release him until his next court date.
James is charged with obstruction of justice and being on restricted grounds. He was taken into custody in Arab on Tuesday, coinciding with a home the FBI raided that same day.
The prosecution said it won’t be arguing that James is a flight risk, and their argument will be a “dangerous to community argument.”
They are going through the search warrant and affidavit at the hearing, and we learned James was arrested away from the home. An FBI agent said James told him he was grateful they arrested him away from his family.
It was also said during the hearing that guns and ammo were found during the search but were not seized, because none of them are illegal. This includes a shotgun, hunting rifle, three AR 15-style rifles, two pistols and a can of 556 or 223 ammunition that appeared to be loose.
They also said Oath Keeper clothing, patches and brochures were found.
The defense said there is no cell phone evidence of the content, but the affidavit mentions phone calls between James and some instigators that day.
The defense also emphasized there isn’t anything unusual about having ammo for your guns, and they brought up his wife. She was cross-examined by the prosecution.
We’ll let you know what comes out of the hearing. Stay with WAAY 31 on air and online for updates.