The trial of Dominic Pezzola, one of the defendants of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach, was paused on Thursday due to classified FBI messages revealed in court, which the defense attorneys say show FBI agents discussing the altering of evidence.
"There are a couple of emails between FBI agents casually discussing altering a document and destroying hundreds of pieces of evidence. It's very disturbing and right now we have more questions than answers," Roger Roots, an attorney at John Pierce Law who represents Pezzola, wrote to The Epoch Times. Roots confirmed that Washington District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee, paused the trial on Thursday after the leaked messages were shown in court.
The exchange Roots referred to came into light on Wednesday during the testimony of FBI special agent Nicole Miller, who was involved in the agency's investigations of the Jan. 6 defendants.
"In the Nordean case, confidential attorneys-client trial/defense strategy and position was wrongfully obtained by the government, about which was overheard, shared, utilized, where potentially '338 items of evidence' were ordered to be 'destroyed,' said Pezzola's legal team in the motion to dismiss.
The emails show Miller “admitted fabricating evidence and following orders to destroy hundreds of items of evidence,” Pezzola’s lawyers wrote in its motion to dismiss, and that the government obtained information that benefitted itself in the trial, causing substantial prejudice to each of the defendants, including Pezzola.
“If justice means anything, it requires this case to be dismissed," Pezzola's lawyer said.
"My thoughts are we need a longer pause to get to the bottom of some of Agent Miller's emails," Roots told The Epoch Times.
Alleged Brady ViolationsIn addition to their argument about the Sixth Amendment, Pezzola's lawyers also argued in their motion to dismiss that newly surfaced footage of events of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach constitutes exculpatory evidence. The defendants' lawyers say the government, by withholding that evidence, violated their client's constitutional rights as defined in Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 case in which the Supreme Court held that prosecutors must make available exculpatory evidence to defense counsel.
The defendants' motion comes two days after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) released more than 40,000 hours of Jan. 6 footage to Fox News’s Tucker Carlson, who then aired some of the footage on his show on Monday and Tuesday.
The aired footage “is plainly exculpatory,” Pezzola’s lawyers said in the motion.
The FBI declined to comment and referred The Epoch Times to the U.S. Attorney's Office for comment.
U.S. Attorney's Office did not provide The Epoch Times with comment by press time.