Six Alabama residents are awaiting trial for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 unrest at the U.S. Capitol.
Federal authorities said this week in court records that the investigation and prosecution of the Capitol attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in the number of defendants prosecuted and amount of evidence gathered. Trials are not expected to happen quickly.
More than 300 people have been charged nationwide in connection with the attack and the government expects that at least 100 more people will be charged.
As part of that investigation, more than 900 search warrants have been executed in almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Here is a look at the Alabamians charged in the Capitol attack and the status of their federal cases:
Coffman, a 70-year-old retired veteran with no prior criminal convictions, is being held without bond until his trial. He was arrested just hours after the riot. He has been indicted on 17 charges following the seizure of nearly a dozen Molotov cocktail explosive devices from his pickup truck, as well as multiple guns, ammo and handwritten notes described as concerning.
Federal authorities asked that he be held without bond because of “concerning history and characteristics” that suggest he poses a grave risk to endanger the community if released from custody.
A federal magistrate said the seriousness of charges and evidence against him outweigh his non-violent past.
Among the handwritten notes was a letter in which he named U.S. Rep. André Carson of Indiana, who he labeled a “Muslim,” and also named a judge with words “bad guy” beside the judge’s name. Another note read, “We The People Are the Rightful Masters of Both The Congress and The courts, Not To Overthrow The Constitution But to Overthrow The Men Who Pervert The Constitution,” and attributed the words to Abraham Lincoln.
Where his case stands: A status hearing was held in D.C. Wednesday, March 17, in the case. Court records note Coffman was present via a videoconference. During the hearing, the Court discussed discovery and the possible need for a protective order in this case. Coffman’s request that he be allowed to get a new lawyer and was granted. Another hearing is scheduled for March 24. A trial date has not yet been set.
James, 33, of Arab, is facing two federal counts. An FBI special agent’s affidavit in D.C. District Court alleged James communicated and congregated with members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group, before and while the Capitol was being breached.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Gray M. Borden in Birmingham remanded James without bond, according to court filings, saying “there are no appropriate conditions” for the his release.
The day before the riots, James served as security for one of the speakers at a “Stop the Steal” rally in D.C., according to the affidavit. Photos showed James wore clothing with an Oath Keepers patch on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6.
James was also pictured standing with other Oath Keepers, including Kelly Meggs, the self-proclaimed leader of the Florida Oath Keepers who was also charged with storming the Capitol, during the riots, the FBI agent claimed.
Phone records showed James was in constant contact with one of the Oath Keepers on Jan. 5, exchanging six calls with the undisclosed member that day, according to the agent. James was also in contact with members on the morning of the riots, the agent alleged.
The cell phone records pinged James’ location inside the Capitol building during the riots while public photos and videos showed a man matching the photos on James’ social media accounts, according to the agent.
James was arrested Tuesday, March 9, in Arab, according to court filings. He was charged with obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting and being in a restricted building or grounds.
James is a U.S. Army combat veteran who reportedly received the Purple Heart. He owns a cleaning company called America Pro Hydro Services.
Where his case stands: James is in federal custody in Talladega. A trial date has not yet been set.
Joshua Matthew Black
Black, a 44-year-old man who ran a lawn service in Leeds, is charged with eight crimes including entering a restricted building or grounds, violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Two days after the riots, federal records state, someone using the username “LetUs Talk” posted two videos to YouTube. Like Black in the videos shot in the Senate chambers, the man had blood on the left side of his face and said in the YouTube video he had been shot with a projectile. In that video, federal prosecutors say, Black discussed entering the Capitol and being on the Senate floor.
Black was seen on video and in photos wearing a red hat, camouflage jacket and yellow gloves and appeared to be bleeding from the left cheek.
On Jan. 8, the court records state, Black voluntarily met with an FBI agent in Moody. Black stated to the agent that he had recorded the YouTube video about his experience entering the Capitol and the Senate chamber. When he was hit in the face with a projectile and offered medical attention by those he believed to be law enforcement, records state, Black told them he believed they were trying to pull him “behind enemy lines” and said, “No. I’m with them. I’m here to defend the constitution. I’m a patriot.”
“(Black) has stated that he was led to the Capitol by Jesus and if called to go again, he would,’’ according to federal court documents. “After being shot in the face and spitting out a substantial amount of blood (he says his mouth filled with blood 6-7 times) and after another person at the Capitol dug out some portion of the projectile from his cheek, the defendant continued on to the Senate floor.”
A federal judge in Birmingham noted that although Black’s actions appeared to be passive that day, that may not always be the case. “Just because he was passive in the Senate chambers, will he remain so if God tells him something else?” U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. England, III said. “God could tell him to do something a little more violent, couldn’t he?”
Where his case stands: Black was ordered held without bond until trial, however federal court records show he was transferred from Alabama, where he was being held in the Pickens County Jail, to D.C. His next court hearing was set for Friday, March 19.
Phillip Andrew Bromley
Bromley, a 47-year-old nurse anesthetist from Sterrett, is charged with unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct.
Bromley was standing eight feet from Air Force veteran Ashli E. Babbitt, 35, when she was shot and killed during the chaotic events that Wednesday, according to federal documents.
FBI Special Agent William Novak stated in federal charging documents that Bromley was shown on video footage published by on the ProPublica website under “What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol.” The website contains numerous videos that appear to have been recorded on Jan. 6 in and around the Capitol building.
One of the videos was titled “4:26 p.m. Near Capitol” and shows a man who identified himself as Phillip Bromley chronicling the events he witnessed that day. “Listen,’’ he tells the man recording him, “everybody needs to know the truth.”
Bromley described how he breached the right side of the building and went inside. Eventually, he said, he came to two large glass doors and said he talked with SWAT officers, reminding them “of their oath.” Moments later, he said, a gunshot went off and a woman was shot in the neck. He said it did not look like a survivable wound. “She was eight feet in front me,’’ Bromley said. “They shot her and she’s dead.”
The agent included surveillance videos that showed Bromley inside of the Capitol building and a copy of his driver’s license photo for comparison and identification. Bromley, who is not accused of being armed with any weapon, is charged with two federal misdemeanor crimes.
Bromley is out on $5,000 bond. He is being represented by Richard Jaffe and Michael Whisonant of Jaffe, Hanle, Whisonant, and Knight in Birmingham. The attorneys released this statement to AL.com. “We are in the process of evaluating the substance of the Government’s proof. Mr. Bromley is a well-respected member of the community who served his country and has no prior criminal record whatsoever. We are pleased the Court chose not to detain Mr. Bromley and look forward to examining the Government’s evidence once we receive discovery.”
Where his case stands: Court records indicate he has a virtual court hearing in D.C. on April 27.
William Wright Watson
Watson, a 23-year-old Auburn man, has been charged federally for his actions on Jan. 6 in D.C. The criminal complaint against him was filed Jan. 17 in United States District Court. Among the charges are violent entry and civil disorder.
Watson was arrested in July on state charges for trafficking LSD and marijuana. He had his bond revoked after Lee County prosecutors said he participated in the riots.
Watson told federal agents he went to D.C. on Jan. 5. He said he and a friend left Auburn about 7 p.m. and arrived in D.C. about 6:30 a.m. He said he went to “support the patriots, support Trump, support freedom.”
“I guess the overriding thing for why we were there that day is because they were certifying the fraudulent election that day, and so we, to protest that,” Watson said.
Watson said he was in an area south of the White House when he saw others walking toward the Capitol and began to follow them. He worked his way to the front of the crowd at the stage which had been set up on the west side of the Capitol for the upcoming presidential inauguration.
He said he had been directed by radio show host Alex Jones, who operates the website InfoWars, to meet at the Capitol at 1 p.m. Watson told the agent he had a taser but had left it in the car.
He approached the Capitol and then began banging on windows “trying to get people to hear me,’’ he said. He eventually entered the building through a broken window. At some point, Watson said, he was in a hallway with others from the crowd and they encountered police. Some of the protesters, he said had shields and batons and one man was dressed like a Viking with spear.
Asked by the agent whether he had received guidance or direction from others to cause violence or criminal activity, Watson replied, “No, it was kind of just what the mob was doing. I was, I was there, helping push on their backs.” He said he had no prior knowledge the event would turn violent and that, in hindsight, he would have stayed back “from the area where people were charging at.”
A search warrant of Watson’s home turned up a yellow sweatshirt matching photographs taken of Watson inside the Capitol. In that picture, Watson is standing with Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” widely seen in photos of the breach.
The agent said that a Capitol police officer reported that when he asked if anyone in the crowd had weapons, the man in the yellow sweatshirt – now identified as Watson – showed him a can of pepper spray. He was asked to hand it over, but he did not. The officer stated the man was “quiet and reserved and helped (police) to try to calm the crowd.”
The agent said Watson was seen on video fiddling with the cannister. Later, he said, Watson was seen holding the canister in the direction of police officers. In a second interview with federal agents – on Jan. 15 – Watson admitted to having the pepper spray. He said someone had given it to him, but he had no idea how to work it.
Watson told the agent he was scared and didn’t know what was going on at that point and that he never figured out how to use the mace. During the second interview, he also admitted to having a pocketknife on his waistband. He said he used the several-inches-long “flip box cutter” to cut down cloth around the inauguration scaffolding so the crowd could progress.
Where his case stands: Watson remains in the Lee County Detention Center.
Kari Dawn Kelley
Kelley, a 40-year-old insurance adjuster from Mobile, is charged with unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct.
Kelley was among the crowd that forced its way into the building while the joint session of Congress was underway to certify the vote count of the Electoral College.
The federal complaint against Kelley was filed under seal on Feb. 10 and later was made public. She was arrested in Mobile in February and appeared before Federal Magistrate Judge Bert Milling.
According to the criminal complaint filed against her, the FBI on Jan. 21 became aware that Kelley had been inside the Capitol. Kelley was seen in footage climbing through an open window and was present in the Senate wing of the building.
The footage time stamp was 2:56 p.m. It showed her in a ponytail, a cream-colored scarf and a hooded Adidas sweatshirt. Kelley was seen recording the events on her cell phone. The FBI said they verified Kelley’s identity through database checks.
Where her case stands: Kelley and her federal public defender did not immediately respond to a request for comment. She was released pending trial and has surrendered her passport to federal authorities.