DOJ Plans to Offer Plea Deal to Trump Appointee Charged in Capitol Breach

May 10, 2021 Updated: May 10, 2021

The Department of Justice plans to offer a plea deal to a Trump appointee who was charged in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said on May 10.

“We expect to extend a plea offer to Mr. Klein. It’s not clear whether that’s something he’s interested in, but we do expect to extend it to allow him to consider it,” a prosecutor told the court in a remote hearing.

Federico Klein, appointed by then-President Donald Trump to a position at the State Department, is accused of assaulting law enforcement officers during the tumult in Washington in early January.

Stanley Woodward Jr., a lawyer for the defendant, didn’t indicate in the hearing whether Klein is open to accepting a plea deal; Woodward didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The status hearing was brief, and it primarily involved updating District Court Judge John Bates, a George W. Bush appointee, on minor matters. The government, for example, told the judge that it has provided Klein with the complete contents of his specific FBI file and the body-camera footage from the officer who came into contact with him.

Significant discovery in the case is ongoing and will be provided to Klein, according to a prosecutor, who requested another status hearing in 30 days to give the government time to work through the discovery. Woodward didn’t oppose the request as his defendant reviews the materials he’s been given.

Discovery will likely not be forthcoming in some of the cases until late summer or early fall, Bates said, which “could create some problems with respect to some of these cases.”

“Whether this is one of them or not, I don’t know. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said, before agreeing to schedule another status hearing next month.

The interests of justice outweigh the interests of the defendant and the public for a speedy trial, the judge ruled, after making sure neither the defense nor prosecution opposed an approximately 30-day period until another hearing.

Klein attended the virtual hearing and only spoke to say he was present. He was warned to continue complying with the conditions of Bates’s previous order of release.

Klein was arrested on March 4 and released from custody on April 12. Bates ruled that Klein’s conduct on Jan. 6 “does not approach the high end of the spectrum of violence that occurred and was threatened that day.”

According to court documents, Klein that day entered a tunnel that leads to a U.S. Capitol entrance, pushed his way to the front of a crowd, and “physically and verbally engaged with the officers” blocking the entrance, “thereby affecting their ability to disperse the crowd.”

Klein, who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, was captured on bodyworn camera footage refusing to back up and shoving a shield toward officers, at one point placing the shield in between doors to prevent officers from closing them, an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit.

Klein was charged with obstruction of justice, assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, and other charges.

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