Federal prosecutors on Tuesday said they plan to drop a case against a man accused of entering the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 riot.
In a court filing, prosecutors told the judge that evidence did not support the charges against Christopher Kelly of New York for allegedly entering the Capitol and obstructing Congress as lawmakers attempted to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“The government and defense counsel have discussed the merits of the case and upon reflection of the facts currently known to the government, the government believes that dismissal without prejudice at this time serves the interest of justice,” they wrote.
A federal judge had not immediately signed off on the case dismissal Tuesday and Kelly’s attorney declined to provide further information.
Kelly was arrested Jan. 20 after the FBI said a paid confidential informant told agents Kelly posted about the riot and his plans to be in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 on the Facebook Messenger app.
“I believe the messages and image … reflect that Chris Kelly was using this account to inform associates that he had breached the Capitol and was inside,” the FBI said.
The court document included photos of Kelly attending a rally on the Capitol grounds but did not include further evidence he actually entered the building amid the riot, such as photos of him inside.
DOJ is moving to dismiss charges against Jan. 6 defendant Chris Kelly, which is a first. The filing is light on details, says prosecutors based the decision "upon reflection of the facts currently known to the government." Here's the original complaint: https://t.co/USgWwkC4AC pic.twitter.com/oJ9VmfYhy8
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) June 1, 2021
Kelly’s case also did not include cellphone data indicating he was inside the Capitol building, as was provided for other defendants.
The decision Tuesday is one of the first moves taken so far to resolve the nearly 500 cases related to the Jan. 6 riot.
In addition to prosecutors requesting to drop Kelly’s case, two defendants including a member of the far-right group known as the Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty.
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