DOJ Acted in 'Bad Faith and Treachery' by Withholding Exculpatory Jan. 6 Evidence, Attorney Says

Ryan Zink found guilty on three counts after attempts to declare mistrial failed

DOJ Acted in 'Bad Faith and Treachery' by Withholding Exculpatory Jan. 6 Evidence, Attorney Says
Hunter Ehmke, 21, is detained by police after smashing windows at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Bobby Powell/Special to The Epoch Times)
Joseph M. Hanneman

A Texas man who took photos at the U.S. Capitol for his father’s congressional campaign was found guilty on Sept. 13 of three Jan. 6 crimes, despite his attorney’s last-ditch mistrial motion based on the Department of Justice’s alleged “bad faith and treachery” for withholding hundreds of pieces of exculpatory evidence.

Ryan Scott Zink, 34, of Lubbock, Texas, was found guilty by a federal district court jury of corruptly obstructing an official proceeding—a felony—entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.
A fourth count was dismissed before trial.

Chief Judge James E. Boasberg set sentencing for Dec. 18 in Washington.

Judge Boasberg denied Mr. Zink’s oral and written demands for a mistrial based on claims that prosecutors withheld “plainly exculpatory evidence” they are required by law to disclose and provide to the defense.

In his written supplement to an oral motion for mistrial, defense attorney John Pierce said he found out after business hours on Sept. 10 about possibly hundreds of exculpatory videos and photographs held by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Prosecutors planned to use some of the evidence to impeach Mr. Zink’s testimony, Mr. Pierce wrote, but the defense had never seen the items.

'Hundreds of Photographs'

“Defense counsel now realizes that many hundreds of photographs and videos taken by Zink on Jan. 6 have been improperly withheld by the prosecution,” Mr. Pierce wrote.

“The number of withheld video and image files may total more than 1000. This constitutes, by far, the bulk of the evidence in this case. And the defense still hasn’t seen it.”

Mr. Zink said he went to Washington on Jan. 6 to take photographs of his father, Jeff Zink, who was running for Congress in Arizona.

The father and son ended up on the patio atop the east steps of the Capitol. Mr. Zink Jr. photographed a California man—Hunter Ehmke—jumping onto a window sill and kicking out some of the panes of glass before being tackled and detained by Capitol Police.

The FBI arrested Mr. Zink in Texas on Feb. 4, 2021. His father, Jeff Zink, who stood next to him on the Capitol patio, was never arrested or charged.

Mr. Pierce said his firm spent nearly seven months trying to secure discovery evidence in the case after being retained in February 2023. Multiple requests were made of Mr. Zink’s previous counsel and the prosecutors in the case, he said.

Police converge on Hunter Ehmke as he punches out a window at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (©Bobby Powell, Truth is Viral/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Police converge on Hunter Ehmke as he punches out a window at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (©Bobby Powell, Truth is Viral/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

“We now believe that dozens or hundreds of the illegally withheld images are campaign-oriented headshots and depictions of Jeff Zink,” Mr. Pierce wrote in his supplementary motion for mistrial.

“This supports the essence of Ryan Zink’s defense: that Ryan went to D.C. on Jan. 6 for purposes of supporting his father’s congressional campaign and to gather campaign images of his father.

“Thus, the government cut the very heart out of Ryan Zink’s defense when it misled defense counsel and withheld this evidence,” Mr. Pierce wrote.

Prosecutors mocked Mr. Zink’s defense that he was at the Capitol to take photos of his father, Mr. Pierce wrote.

“The government has misled the jury with examination questions designed to disparage, denigrate, insult, and deprecate Zink’s defense—while knowingly possessing and withholding evidence which would have supported Zink’s defense,” Mr. Pierce wrote.

"The unfairness of the proceedings cannot be overstated," he said.

Prosecutors have not filed a written response to Mr. Pierce’s oral and written motion for mistrial. The DOJ’s policy is to not comment on cases outside of filings made with the court.

Jeff Zink told The Epoch Times in November 2022 that he was told charges against his son would be dismissed if he dropped out of the race for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.

The offer was made via anonymous, untraceable phone calls, he said.

Jeff Zink lost the race to incumbent Ruben Gallego on Nov. 8, 2022.

Joseph M. Hanneman is a reporter for The Epoch Times with a focus on the January 6 Capitol incursion and its aftermath, as well as general Wisconsin news. In 2022, he helped to produce "The Real Story of Jan. 6," an Epoch Times documentary about the events that day. Joe has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. He can be reached at:
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