Magistrate again refuses to reopen detention hearing for local man charged in US Capitol riot
AUSTIN, Texas (KWTX) - U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Hightower Monday refused for a second time to reopen the detention hearing for Waco area businessman Christopher Grider, who’s named in a seven-count indictment stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In Monday’s ruling she said she no longer has jurisdiction in the case.
“This court has committed Mr. Grider and transferred his case to the District of Columbia, the court of competent jurisdiction. Therefore, all future proceedings should take place in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia,” she wrote.
Grider has remained in custody since he surrendered to FBI agents on Jan. 21 in Austin after he was named in a warrant signed on Jan. 20 by a U.S. magistrate judge.
After his initial detention hearing on Jan. 27 Hightower ordered that Grider be transferred to Washington D.C., to be held without bond pending further proceedings.
The next day, on Jan. 28, she denied a motion to reopen the detention hearing, saying there’s strong evidence Grider “participated at the forefront in the events.”
In the Jan. 28 ruling, Hightower wrote, “whether or not he led or encouraged others in the alleged commission of the offenses charged, there is extremely strong evidence that Mr. Grider participated at the forefront in the events that led to the fatal shooting inside the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.”
In the motion to reopen the detention hearing filed on Feb. 1, Grider’s attorney, T. Brent Mayr, says photos from Grider’s computer discovered on Jan. 29 show his client walking up to a ground level entrance to the Capitol and walking through an open door that does not appear to have been opened by force.
“There is clearly no forcible entry made by the defendant,” he said in the motion.
A video was also found that shows Grider walking up to the entrance of the Speaker’s Lobby where Capitol officers are standing guard, the motion says.
Grider, the motion says, “does not yell, shout, or make any threatening comments to them. Instead, he is heard telling the officers, ‘People are going to get crushed on that other side if they don’t open that door’…(and) pleading with the officers, telling them, ‘There are two cops getting crushed.’”
A second video was discovered that shows Grider followed officers as they moved away from the door to the Speaker’s Lobby, the motion says.
“This new material corroborates what the defendant has maintained all along: his presence in the Capitol was not one of a person who intended to inflict harm on anyone or commit any violent acts. He wanted his voice to be heard and nothing more.”
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