Journalist Faces Arrest on 4 Charges Over Jan. 6 Presence at Capitol

Prosecution of Blaze Media’s Stephen Baker decried by colleagues.
Journalist Faces Arrest on 4 Charges Over Jan. 6 Presence at Capitol
Steve Baker of Blaze Media speaks with radio host Glenn Beck about his Jan. 6 pipe bomb reporting on Feb. 15, 2024. (Blaze Media/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Joseph M. Hanneman

A Blaze Media journalist whose recent coverage exposed possible perjury by U.S. Capitol Police in a high-profile Jan. 6 trial, says an arrest warrant has been signed and he will surrender to the FBI in Dallas on March 1 to face four Jan. 6 misdemeanor charges.

Stephen Michael Baker, 63, of Raleigh, North Carolina, was sitting at a table at the Old Hickory restaurant at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington on Feb. 23 when he received a call from one of his defense attorneys, Bill Shipley.

“What? When did this happen?” he asked Mr. Shipley. After a brief conversation, Mr. Baker turned to a colleague at the table and said, “Well, it’s happening.”

Mr. Baker is slated to appear at 10 a.m. on March 1 before a magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas.

“The prosecutor informed my attorney that I am to arrive at the FBI field office wearing ‘shorts and sandals,’” Mr. Baker wrote on X. “They didn’t have to go this route, as we’ve been told that my charges are non-violent misdemeanors.

“My attorneys have also been assured by the [government] that this will be an ‘in and out’ affair and that they have ‘no intention’ of detaining me,” he wrote. “But, rather than issuing a simple order to appear, they seem to feel the need to give me a dose of the personal humiliation treatment.”

Mr. Baker and the six attorneys who agreed to represent him in the case have said the U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing the prosecution as retribution for his coverage that they say embarrassed the DOJ, FBI, U.S. Capitol Police, and others.

That view was shared by others on Feb. 28.

‘Selective Prosecution’

“What the federal government is doing to Steve is unconscionable,” Matthew Peterson, editor-in-chief of Blaze Media, told The Epoch Times.

“Americans should not have unknown charges hanging over their heads for years on end, and the timeline here suggests that government is now retaliating against him for the stories he’s filed with us.”

Mr. Peterson said a simple review of the video shot by Mr. Baker at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 makes it clear that he was there as a journalist. On Jan. 6 Mr. Baker was not employed by Blaze Media yet, but captured video for his news-and-commentary blog, The Pragmatic Constitutionalist.

“Why have all the other journalists who entered the Capitol not been charged with misdemeanors?” Mr. Peterson asked. “The government appears to be engaged in selective prosecution.”

Mr. Baker becomes the latest in a string of right-of-center journalists prosecuted for their presence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Stephen Ethan Horn, 25, of Youngsville, North Carolina, was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 18, 2023, on four Jan. 6 counts, including entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Mr. Horn was sentenced on Jan. 10 by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly to 12 months of probation and fined $2,000.

Federal prosecutors—who asked Judge Kelly to jail Mr. Horn for 10 months—questioned his press credentials and claimed he was no different than hundreds of other “rioters” on the grounds that day.

Jesus Delamora Rivera Jr., 40, of Pensacola, Fla., was sentenced to eight months in jail after being found guilty in a June 2022 bench trial on the same four misdemeanor charges as Mr. Horn.

Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Frank Edwards fires a munition shell toward protesters on the west side of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Steve Baker/Special to The Epoch Times)
Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Frank Edwards fires a munition shell toward protesters on the west side of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Steve Baker/Special to The Epoch Times)

Mr. Rivera was a cinematographer who operated a political blog at the time of the Jan. 6 protests.

He filmed Jan. 6 action outside and entered into the Capitol to document the protests. He had just been offered a job as a cameraman for a local television news station. His conviction and sentence were upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Other journalists prosecuted by the DOJ include William Pope, editor of Free State Kansas, Sam Montoya and Owen Shroyer of Infowars, and independent opinion journalist Shawn Bradley Witzemann of Tribune Media International.

Only Mr. Pope’s case is still in the pretrial stage.

The announcement of Mr. Baker’s pending prosecution drew a sharp response.

“The DOJ has no suspects in either the RNC/DNC pipe bomb nor gallows investigation, but they are targeting an independent journalist who simply documented what he witnessed on Jan. 6,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chairman of the Committee on House Administration’s Subcommittee on Oversight.

“There were dozens of journalists at the Capitol that day, so why target [Baker]?”

‘Our Country is Lost’

“The regime is arresting Steve for the crime of exposing the lies at the core of the J6 narrative,” Mike Howell of the Oversight Project at Heritage Foundation wrote on X.

“In a sane world, he’d be winning the Pulitzer Prize and [be] a national hero for telling the truth. Instead, they’re arresting this journalist.”

Filmmaker and actor Nick Searcy, who produced two Jan. 6 documentaries, likened Mr. Baker’s prosecution to communism.

“Our country is lost. We are no better than any communist country at this point,” Mr. Searcy wrote on X.

Just before a January press conference held in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Mr. Baker said he believes the prosecution is payback for his work as a journalist.

“After not having indicted me for three years, it is clear that any move to do so now will be in retaliation for my reporting,” Mr. Baker said in a statement. “I will not be intimidated. I will continue to report the findings of my investigation into the evidence being made available to me to review,” he said.

In October 2023 Mr. Baker published an investigation at Blaze Media alleging that two Capitol Police officials gave false testimony in the 2002 trial of Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III and four other men.
Paramedics rush a mortally wounded Ashli Babbitt to the rescue squad just after 3 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021. (Steve Baker/Special to The Epoch Times)
Paramedics rush a mortally wounded Ashli Babbitt to the rescue squad just after 3 p.m. on Jan. 6, 2021. (Steve Baker/Special to The Epoch Times)
More recently, Mr. Baker reported that a plainclothes Capitol Police officer, not a passerby, discovered the pipe bomb at the Democratic National Committee offices on Jan. 6. He also wrote that a Capitol Police security camera was turned away from the DNC in the middle of police response to the bomb.
The Epoch Times confirmed Mr. Baker’s reports and disclosed that a second and third USCP security camera was deliberately panned away from the scene during bomb-squad operations.

Mr. Baker was first threatened with prosecution in the fall of 2021 after he voluntarily met with two FBI special agents in North Carolina.

He was later told that the DOJ was considering an interstate racketeering charge because he received money to license his Jan. 6 video to HBO, The New York Times, and other media outlets.

‘Tell Him to Be Careful’

There was no update after that until March 2023, when Mr. Baker was warned by a well-connected journalist that his online commentaries about the Oath Keepers case, Capitol Police, and other issues were chafing important people at the DOJ.

“I got a call from another journalist who has a friendly source inside the Department of Justice there in D.C.,” Baker told The Epoch Times.

“He called me up and said—this is a paraphrase, but he said—‘Your friend in Raleigh, tell him to be careful. He has awakened a couple of people’s attention to his work, and they’re not happy about it at all.’”

 He had a front-row view of some intense scenes, including the initial bombardment of munitions aimed by police at the huge crowd on the Capitol’s west front.

His video work appeared in Jan. 6 films by HBO, The New York Times, and The Epoch Times. It has been syndicated worldwide on Storyful.

Mr. Baker filmed the debut of a Metropolitan Police Department “hard squad” and the violence that broke out as the riot-gear-clad officers rolled and rumbled through the dense crowd just after 1 p.m.

In August 2023, Mr. Baker received a subpoena for his Jan. 6 video, which he said was ironic since he offered the footage to the FBI in 2021. He traveled to Washington on the subpoena deadline date to turn in the video. But no one at the DOJ knew anything about it, he said at the time.

In December 2023, Mr. Baker was warned by federal authorities to expect imminent charges. His surrender to the FBI, initially set before Christmas, was delayed. There was no further word until January, prompting the Dallas press conference.

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: [email protected]
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