UNDATED (AP) — A judge says a man charged with conspiring with members of the Oath Keepers far-right militia group in the attack on the U.S. Capitol will be released from jail while he awaits trial. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ordered the release of Thomas Caldwell during a hearing held Friday. The decision is a serious blow for prosecutors, who fought to keep Caldwell locked up, calling him a threat to the community and major player in the Oath Keepers’ plot to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. The judge noted that Caldwell did not enter the Capitol and said there’s no direct evidence that he plotted in advance to do so.
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A former Coast Guard lieutenant accused by prosecutors of plotting to kill members of Congress to advance a white nationalist agenda is asking an appellate court to vacate his guilty plea. Christopher Hasson of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty in 2019 to firearms offenses. A judge applied a “terrorism enhancement” at his sentencing and gave him 13 years in prison. Without the enhancement, he likely would have received no more than four years. Hasson was never charged under a terrorism statute, and his lawyers say the terrorism enhancement was wrongly applied. Hasson’s lawyers made their case Friday afternoon to a three-judge panel in Richmond.
UNDATED (AP) — The lights of Philadelphia might not shine as bright in the coming weeks as a coalition in the City of Brotherly Love tries to prevent millions of migrating birds that pass through twice a year from slamming into skyscrapers and crashing to the sidewalk. Bird Safe Philly on Thursday announced the Lights Out Philly initiative. The voluntary program, which is in 33 other cities, seeks to turn off or dim as many external and internal lights in buildings during the spring and fall. Scientists estimate between 365 million and one billion birds are killed by collisions with buildings or other outdoor structures in the U.S. every year.
UNDATED (AP) — Authorities investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol say two extremist groups that traveled to Washington along with thousands of other Trump supporters weren’t whipped into an impulsive frenzy by President Donald Trump that day. Instead, authorities allege evidence points to the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys laying attack plans well in advance. Internal communications and other evidence emerging in court papers and hearings show how authorities are trying to build a case that small cells hidden within the masses mounted an organized, military-style assault on the heart of American democracy. Defense attorneys accuse prosecutors of distorting their clients’ words and actions to falsely portray the attack as premeditated.