WASHINGTON — A pro-Trump social media influencer who was found guilty of disorderly and disruptive conduct on the Capitol grounds for his actions on Jan. 6 is shocked by the release of court documents this week that were supposed to be sealed and detail the assistance he provided to federal authorities investigating the Capitol siege.
Brandon Straka, a former self-described liberal who founded the #WalkAway movement in support of Republicans, was sentenced to three months house arrest and a total of three years probation in January. Straka’s relatively light sentence was partly due to what his attorney described as “meaningful” cooperation with the FBI’s investigation into the Jan. 6 attack.
Documents detailing Straka’s cooperation were sealed when filed ahead of his January 2022 sentencing, but a coalition of media companies that includes NBC News filed a motion this week asking that they be unsealed.
Judge Dabney L. Friedrich earlier this week ordered that some of the documents be unsealed immediately, but asked for additional filings from both parties as to whether the underlying attachments with details of Straka’s cooperation should be unsealed.
But the documents provided to the media coalition, in an apparent error, included the underlying attachments which were to be kept under seal for the time being. Early Friday morning, Straka’s attorney filed a motion asking for a hearing on the release of the documents “without court approval.”
After details of Straka’s cooperation began to spread on social media and an article about Straka’s cooperation appeared on WUSA-9, Straka took to the social media platform of right-wing GETTR and issued a two-page letter expressing outrage at what he described as a “leak”. .”
According to the unsealed documents, some of the information Straka provided to the FBI was derogatory in nature and could support criminal charges. But Straka’s GETTR message ignored that, and he instead wrote that the majority of the people he spoke to at the FBI were his friends and that he hadn’t said anything negative about them.
“There’s NOTHING Wrong with talking to the DOJ and telling them your friends are innocent,” Straka said. “I hope at some point people will stick their heads out and start focusing on the REAL horror here – that sealed court documents have been leaked within the DOJ to the liberal media.”
Among those named in the unsealed court documents: “Stop the Steal” organizers Ali Alexander, Amy Kremmer, Kylie Kremmer and Cindy Chafian.
The list also included Simone Gold, an anti-vaccine activist who Straka specifically identified as a friend in her GETTR post.
“One of the names on the list was Simone Gold (now a friend of mine), and Simone was arrested and charged BEFORE me. At the time of Jan. 6, we barely knew each other,” he wrote.
According to prosecutors, however, Straka really underestimates the help he provided in pursuing the woman he now calls a friend. The DOJ wrote in its own memo that Straka gave federal investigators critical information in the case because he “provided the government with the voicemails he received from Gold” that were “valuable in prosecuting the government”. Gold was sentenced to two months in federal prison in June.
Straka, according to the government, also provided “helpful” information about a man who, like him, was also present outside the Capitol and “was not previously identified by the FBI prior to Straka’s identification.” . Straka provided the information on the man, who his defense described as a convicted Nevada sex offender, although Straka’s defense memo noted that it was “unknown if this individual actually entered the Capitol.” .
This isn’t the first time Straka has tried to erase the facts from his case.
Although Straka admitted in a court document signed as part of his plea that it was ‘true and correct’ that he said ‘take it, take it’ as rioters tried to steal the shield from a United States Capitol police officer, he has since attempted to play down the behavior he admitted to and strongly implied he was lying when he signed the plea agreement.
“I’m accused of shouting ‘Take the shield, take the shield,’ which I can’t refute,” Straka said in a YouTube interview last month, posted shortly after he was released from detention. residence. “In the statement of offense it was a condition that I basically confess to all the things that I originally accused myself of…I told my lawyer I couldn’t sign this…My option was take the deal as written or go to trial, and I took the deal.”
The facts Straka admitted are inconvenient for his career, as he said during his sentencing hearing: “My supporters don’t condone violence and they’re all standing up in support of blue… My supporters wouldn’t tolerate I never advocate violence.”
During his sentencing hearing, Judge Friedrich – a Trump appointee in 2017 – said it was “very difficult to accept what Mr. Straka wants me to believe”, given his many social media posts about Jan. 6, and that his story that he was “completely unaware” of the violence in the Capitol before heading to the building did not ring true.
“What does he mean by ‘Patriots… WAIT. THE LINE.’?” Friedrich asked his attorney, citing a tweet Straka posted at 5:33 p.m. on Jan. 6.
Straka said in his GETTR article that the real story was that “sealed court documents were leaked within the DOJ to the liberal media.”
“I suffered tremendously at the hands of the DOJ for a year and a half,” Straka said. “The reason these documents were leaked is because I didn’t go off and crawl into a hole and die after my case the way they wanted. I still won’t now.
In January, Straka’s attorney revealed that the FBI special agents who interviewed Straka were “focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between the accused, President Donald J. Trump, and the former president’s allies, to disrupt the joint session of Congress on January 6. Straka, he wrote, “denied the existence of such a plot”.