Jan. 6 Prisoner Sues Biden Admin for Violating His Constitutional and Human Rights

Jan. 6 Prisoner Sues Biden Admin for Violating His Constitutional and Human Rights
Jake Lang tried to save Rosanne Boyland at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Courtesy of Jake Lang)
Patricia Tolson

A Jan. 6 prisoner has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Metropolitan Detention Center Deputy Warden Heriberto Tellez.

The lawsuit, filed on April 19 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, claims that Edward Jacob “Jake” Lang—currently being held as a pretrial detainee at the Metropolitan Detention Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City—“continues to be held and transferred in violation of his Constitutional and human rights.”
Mr. Lang passed a milestone on Oct. 12, 2023, crossing the threshold of being held in a U.S. prison for 1,000 days without a trial.

He has spent four birthdays in prison without a trial as of April 7.

Since his arrest on Jan. 13, 2021, the 28-year-old Mr. Lang has been shuttled from one prison to another more than 12 times, frequently by way of what he describes as a torturous punishment called diesel therapy, which is a repeated and often prolonged transfer of a detainee for no purpose other than to subject them to discomfort.

During those transfers, his family photos, letters, and all discovery records related to his case have been lost or destroyed.

His complaint alleges that he has also been “punished and subjected to prolonged solitary confinement for punitive reasons—at times for months without a disciplinary charge even being alleged.”

He has endured physical, verbal, and mental abuse, and engaged in hunger strikes to force officials to provide him with simple things such as a haircut and the right to see his family.

He has been denied bond for over three years.

While his trial had been set to begin Oct. 10, it was postponed pending a Supreme Court decision on the whether the charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, which has been used against many Jan. 6 defendants, can be upheld.
The lawsuit argues that Mr. Garland, as the U.S. attorney general, is the one who sought Mr. Lang’s pretrial detention and the one whose actions keep him incarcerated today.

Worst Prison in America

Anthony Sabatini is representing Mr. Lang in the lawsuit.

Mr. Sabatini spoke to The Epoch Times about the case and about the Metropolitan Detention Center where his client is being held.

“It’s considered to be the worst federal prison in the United States by a landslide,” he said. “Three separate judges in the past three years have not allowed defendants to be sent there because the conditions are so bad.”

In a Jan. 4 ruling, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman refused to send a 70-year-old drug dealer to the detention center because the conditions were so “dreadful.”
In February 2022, U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein of the Southern District of New York said conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center and the Essex County Correctional Facility in New Jersey provided “exceptional reasons“ not to detain a defendant ahead of his scheduled April sentencing.
In December 2023, U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry of the Eastern District of New York condemned the actions of the Metropolitan Detention Center staff as “an abomination” and “utterly contemptuous of human life and dignity” after jailers returned a defendant suffering from a severe MRSA infection to the prison, despite the judge’s order to send him to a medical facility, the New York Daily News reported.

Mr. Sabatini made similar comments.

“It’s the single most incompetent, backward, and dangerous prison in the entire country,” he said.

“They’re unlawfully and immorally keeping him in pretrial detention for no reason,” he added, saying that prosecutors and judges have been claiming Mr. Lang is being held for so long without trial because he is a danger to the community.

“They’ve done that with a lot of the January 6 protesters,” he said. “So, we did a habeas corpus, which is a motion to try to get him released as soon as we can.”

‘Kangaroo Court’ in the Prison

Mr. Sabatini said his client has been held in solitary confinement in terrible conditions.

“They don’t even allow him to change his clothes more than once a week. They don’t give him proper access to his attorneys so he can prepare for his case. The living conditions are terrible. It’s just a bad situation and completely pointless other than to torment him.”

When Mr. Sabatini spoke to The Epoch Times, Mr. Lang was in another stint of solitary confinement, this time for allegedly using a contraband cellphone in the prison, his attorney said.

In most jurisdictions, prison inmates are forbidden from having access to cellphones or other electronic devices due to their ability to communicate with the outside world and other security issues.

Asked how Mr. Lang had access to a phone, Mr. Sabatini said “they are common in the jails and often shared by inmates.”

“Sometimes they are given to them by guards,” he said.

Asked why Mr. Lang was singled out for solitary if other prisoners have access to cellphones, Mr. Sabatini said, “It’s a gray area.”

“They go back and forth with the law,” he said of prison officials in this regard. “Sometimes they use it just to punish people and then other times they ignore it. It’s a kangaroo court type of system.”

After being charged with having an unauthorized device, Mr. Lang was placed in solitary confinement for two weeks. During that time, he was locked alone in his cell with only one hour out each day, giving him extremely limited access to the world outside. Mr. Sabatini was unable to communicate with him to ask about the allegation while he was in solitary confinement.

Mr. Lang alleges that this latest punishment was another effort to “shut down” his First Amendment rights.

When he emerged from solitary on April 24, he contacted The Epoch Times to provide an update on his situation.

“I did not have a cellphone,” he asserted. “That’s what they charged me with but the charge was dismissed and I was proven not guilty.”

‘An Important Case’

Prosecutors claim Mr. Lang is a dangerous man. The words, “weapon,” “assault,” “dangerous,” and “deadly” are used throughout his indictment.

Count six in the list of 13 charges alleges that Mr. Lang used a “deadly or dangerous weapon, that is, a bat,” to “forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with an officer.”

Mr. Lang told American Gulag he was trying to stop police from battering and beating helpless protesters. One of them was Rosanne Boyland.
Ms. Boyland, a 34-year-old woman from Kennesaw, Georgia, who also attended the protests at the Capitol, was reportedly hit in the chest with a projectile and crushed beneath a pile of bodies in the Lower West Terrace tunnel. The medical examiner for the District of Columbia ruled that Ms. Boyland died from an overdose of a prescription medication, which family members said she was prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. New evidence later cast doubt on the official cause of death, suggesting she died of asphyxiation.
In this image from video, Jake Lang stands outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (DOJ via The Epoch Times)
In this image from video, Jake Lang stands outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (DOJ via The Epoch Times)

Another protester, Philip Anderson, nearly met the same fate.

In a video, Mr. Anderson says, “If it wasn’t for Jake Lang, I definitely would be dead.”
Mr. Lang’s motions for bond were opposed because the government insisted, “There are no conditions or combination of conditions which can effectively ensure the safety of any other person and the community.”

Alleged Risk of Violence

An affidavit filed by the FBI special agent investigating Mr. Lang’s case said an Instagram video showed Mr. Lang being asked what he thought could happen next.

“Guns…That’s it,” Mr. Lang allegedly said. ”One word. The First Amendment didn’t work, we pull out the Second. We’re all civilized people and we love going to work and praying to God on Sundays and having nice family barbeques…and that was every single person there. No one wants to take this and die for our rights, but dying for our rights is the only option that any person with a logical brain sees right now. This is it.”

Mr. Sabatini is convinced that Mr. Lang is not being held out of a belief that he would endanger the public, but because he’s being punished for being so vocal about the conditions to which he and his fellow Jan. 6 prisoners have been subjected.

Mr. Lang is outspoken, giving numerous media interviews in which he challenges some of the narratives being pushed about the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

He has been active in petitioning the government to change the venue of the Jan. 6 trials and was the first Jan. 6 prisoner to petition the Supreme Court to dismiss the Section 1512 count, also known as the obstruction charge, used by federal prosecutors to secure lengthy prison sentences approaching 20 years.
While government prosecutors and judges have insisted that there is no evidence to prove that he and his fellow Jan. 6 prisoners and defendants can’t get a fair trial in Washington, Mr. Lang commissioned a survey that proved an extreme level of bias exists among potential jurors toward anyone who participated in the Jan. 6 incident.
Mr. Lang funded the survey through donations to the January 6th Legal Fund, a crowdfunding campaign he established to help cover the legal expenses of his fellow Jan. 6 prisoners and defendants.

Staying Positive

Through these efforts, Mr. Sabatini says Mr. Lang has helped shift public opinion toward Jan. 6 protesters to a more favorable light, and the powers that be are angry about that.

The latest setback came three weeks ago when the Metropolitan Detention Center refused to allow Mr. Lang to appear for his scheduled bond hearing via Zoom.

“This was a federal judge for a federal court hearing and the prison is so incompetent they couldn’t produce Mr. Lang,” Mr. Sabatini said. “I’ve never seen anything like that in my lifetime.”

So, after attempting to reschedule the bond hearing only to have the judge, prison staff, and the DOJ kick the can further down the road, the decision came to file the lawsuit.

Despite the extended incarceration without a trial, the alleged abuse, and the repeated setbacks in his efforts to be released while awaiting the trial that never comes, Mr. Sabatini said Mr. Lang is in good spirits.

Mr. Lang is a devout Christian who relies on prayer to sustain him. But Mr. Sabatini said that the physical conditions and mental anguish are still a very real part of his daily life.

“This is an important case,” Mr. Sabatini said of the latest lawsuit. “He’s being targeted, and I just hope people are paying attention.”

Mr. Sabatini said more Americans need to urge Congress to take a more active role in standing up for the rights of these Jan. 6 protesters.

He noted that, while President Trump has indicated he will grant pardons to most of the Jan. 6 protesters, he said it’s important that they be released from prison while awaiting trial, particularly Mr. Lang.

“It’s just awful that Congress hasn’t intervened to stop these judges from keeping these people in prison for as long as they have,” he said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the Department of Justice for comment.

This story has been updated.
Patricia Tolson is an award-winning Epoch Times reporter who covers human interest stories, election policies, education, school boards, and parental rights. Ms. Tolson has 20 years of experience in media and has worked for outlets including Yahoo!, U.S. News, and The Tampa Free Press. Send her your story ideas: [email protected]