Joseph Lino "Jose" Padilla, the Cleveland, Tennessee, man facing 12 counts in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach at the U.S. Capitol, is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court for a report on the status of his case stemming from what federal prosecutors contend was a coordinated attack to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.
Padilla, 41, who will appear in court Wednesday via teleconference in Washington, D.C., has remained in federal custody since his arrest Feb. 23, 2021. The hearing is for District Judge John D. Bates to be updated on the status of discovery in the case regarding issues raised by Padilla's attorney Michael Cronkright, during his last hearing April 6.
Padilla pleaded not guilty in the case March 30, 2021, court records show.
Cronkright told Bates in the April 6 hearing he was having ongoing trouble getting his client access to case evidence and was finding it nearly impossible to have confidential, face-to-face meetings with Padilla at the Washington, D.C., jail where he's being held.
Cronkright told Bates in April that jail officials were welcoming but he was finding it impossible to speak with Padilla on the phone out of earshot of other inmates and guards and no solutions were being offered at the time.
Federal prosecutors told Bates the volume of evidence on electronic devices and on social media caused delays and forced officials on all sides to look for ways to work around problems with supplying information on cases through a federal database.
As of April 6 prosecutors said they had provided hundreds of pieces of evidence that hadn't been provided at the last hearing in January, however, none of the social media evidence had been provided to Padilla, officials said. Prosecutors maintained the government had provided Padilla all the discovery evidence he was entitled to up through April.
When the case resumes Wednesday, Bates said he wanted to be able to start scheduling motion hearings in Padilla's case and work to get a trial date set.
Rebeka Padilla, Padilla's wife, declined to comment when contacted by phone Tuesday. The person who answered the phone in Cronkright's office Tuesday said no one was making comments on Padilla's case.
Padilla's charges include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; three counts of civil disorder; two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly conduct in the Capitol grounds or buildings; and committing an act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.
The FBI's Feb. 22, 2021, criminal complaint charging Padilla, identified by a tipster who saw him in videos from Jan. 6, 2021, states he was seen in footage from a Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia officer's body camera wearing a scuba mask and pushing a police barricade line shouting, "Push! Push! --ing push!"
Padilla was captured in other footage from the breach pushing the barricade, and police officers removed his scuba mask and began pushing him and striking him with a police baton "to get him to stop," the complaint states. Another video showed Padilla helping others move a large, metal-framed sign on wheels toward the barricade, where it was used as a battering ram against police, the complaint states.
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"Padilla and numerous other rioters began to mass in front of a law enforcement line inside the archway of the U.S. Capitol Lower West Terrace doors. He throws the flagpole at the officers, who are simultaneously being attacked by rioters," the complaint states of actions that happened in the hours that followed. The complaint includes images and descriptions of those actions.
Padilla since his arrest has continued to seek release, but Bates in detaining him has maintained he "poses a concrete, prospective threat to the safety of the community," court documents state.
As Padilla faces his hearing this week, the former top leader of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group and other members were charged Monday with seditious conspiracy, according to the Associated Press.
The latest indictment against Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, the former Proud Boys chairman, and four others linked to the group comes as the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot prepares to begin public hearings this week to lay out its findings, the AP reported.
The indictment alleges that the Proud Boys conspired to forcibly oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power. Tarrio and the others - Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola - were previously charged with different conspiracy counts, according to AP.
They are scheduled to stand trial in August in Washington, D.C.'s federal court.
The seditious conspiracy charges are among the most serious filed so far, but aren't the first of their kind. Eleven members or associates of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia group, including its founder and leader Stewart Rhodes, were indicted in January on seditious conspiracy charges in a serious escalation in the largest investigation in the Justice Department's history, the AP reported.
In the 17 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, federal officials said Monday in a news release on recent cases. The investigation remains ongoing and anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI, 800-225-5324, or visit tips.fbi.gov.
Contact Ben Benton at email@example.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.