‘So you asked me if I’d do it again? I want to say yes’
Federal prosecutors moved to have Josh Pruitt’s pretrial release revoked after he told CNN that he doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong and that he would consider storming the Capitol again.
“So you asked me if I’d do it again? I want to say yes,” Mr Pruitt said when asked if he still would have been a part of the insurrection if he’d been aware of the legal ramifications. But he added he wasn’t sure he would do it again because the last year had been awful.
“I don’t feel I did anything wrong but knowing the consequences that came out of it would be the part that would make me question it,” he said.
Prosecutors also noted that Mr Pruitt had violated his curfew on several occasions, that he had threatened multiple people on social media, one of them being his ex-girlfriend, and that he has violated his probation in cases not related to 6 January.
Mr Pruitt’s lawyer argued in court on Thursday that the curfew violations were due to Mr Pruitt being unable to get rides home from work.
But District Judge Timothy Kelly said it wasn’t the first time that Mr Pruitt “has been admonished to comply with curfew and restrictions on his movement,” Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed News tweeted.
“I just don’t believe that he repeatedly is out there in the middle of the night for reasons that are beyond his control,” the judge said.
Federal prosecutors also noted that Mr Pruitt told CNN that he didn’t regret going to the Capitol or that he had been a part of the mob.
Mr Pruitt and his lawyer argued that he was referring to protesting outside the Capitol, not entering the building.
While Judge Kelly appeared sceptical of this explanation, he also said that “it wouldn’t be the first time that CNN took something out of context and didn’t portray something accurately”.
The judge ordered Mr Pruitt to be returned to jail, affording him until 18 January to surrender to the authorities. Judge Kelly added that Mr Pruitt wouldn’t be allowed to work during this time.
Mr Pruitt responded by saying that he would appear on CNN again and accuse the judge of violating his First Amendment rights.
“Are you telling me you don’t want this time over the weekend to get your affairs in order?” the judge asked.
“I would love the time over the weekend,” Mr Pruitt said, but continued to object to the restriction on his ability to work.
The judge said he respects defendants who want to work and that they “bent over backwards to try to make that happen”.
Prosecutors argued that Mr Pruitt’s repeated interruptions of the judge made it doubtful that he would surrender willingly. Mr Pruitt said he would turn himself in. Judge Kelly said “he will face a much bigger problem if he doesn’t”, Ms Tillman tweeted.
The judge raised his voice after being interrupted by Mr Kelly yet again, telling him that “he abused the system and that’s why they’re here,” according to the BuzzFeed reporter.
Mr Pruitt continued to speak on the hearing’s public phone line but was seemingly ignored by the prosecutors and others as they discussed logistics and the status of discovery.
“Pruitt has apparently just discovered the public line, asks why that exists, everyone continues to ignore him at this point as they continue to discuss logistics,” Ms Tillman wrote.
Before the end of the hearing, Mr Pruitt could be heard using the phrases “law-abiding citizen” and “unlike the [Black Lives Matter] piece of s**t”.
The member of the far-right extremist group known as the Proud Boys was living in Washington, DC at the time of the insurrection. He’s been arrested 19 times and he’s been convicted on eight occasions, WUSA9 reported.
Mr Pruitt was on probation and he was wearing an ankle monitor during the siege on Congress. He reportedly fought with officers and was spotted on security footage throwing a “Quiet Please” sign.
He was arrested the evening of 6 January for violating the DC curfew put in place by Mayor Muriel Bowser.