A Trump administration appointee, accused of charging a police line during the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack, was ordered detained pending trial Tuesday after a federal magistrate said former State Department aide Federico Klein represented a continuing “danger” to the community.
U.S. Magistrate Zia Faruqui said Klein’s alleged conduct “demonstrated a lack of belief in the rule of law” that was particularly troubling because of the government position he held at the time of the attack.
“There were enemies at the heart of American democracy, and a person who swore an oath switched sides,” Faruqui said.
Trump appointee:Federico Klein arrested in Capitol attack; stunned mom says he was ‘Boy Scout type’
The magistrate’s ruling came after federal prosecutors described Klein as “an enthusiastic participant in mob violence” and whose actions Jan. 6 “contributed to the overall violence on that day.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jocelyn Bond said Klein was in the “first wave” of a mob clashing with police on the lower West Terrace of the Capitol. At the time, the suspect was allegedly armed with riot shield “stolen” from police that he used against officers attempting to repel a swarm of attackers.
Citing video drawn from police body cameras and other photographs taken that day, Bond asserted that Klein was “unrelenting” in a sustained fight against police, once thrusting the riot shield inside the Capitol doors to prevent officers from securing the entry.
“We need fresh people!” Klein allegedly called out during the struggle. “We need fresh people!”
Klein only fell back, Bond said, when officers deployed pepper spray into the scrum of rioters.
“The evidence is very strong here,” Bond said, adding that Klein’s involvement stood apart from the others as a “federal employee under oath to uphold the Constitution.”
“He demonstrated his character here loud and clear,” the prosecutor said. “He put himself above the law.”
Klein, 42, is the first known Trump appointee to be swept up in the sprawling federal investigation.
At the time of the Capitol siege, according to court documents, Klein held a top secret security clearance at the State Department where he served in the Office of Brazilian and South Cone Affairs.
Federal authorities identified Klein, who also previously worked for the Trump campaign, from multiple photographs in which he was alternately wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap and a Marine Corps hat.
Klein’s attorney, Stanley Woodward Jr., characterized the government’s evidence as “speculative” and “not quite as strong” as presented.
“There is a lot to be looked at here,” Woodward said, adding that there was no evidence that his client intended to disrupt government operations as Congress met that day to certify the results of the presidential election.
Disputing the prosecutor’s contention that Klein disregarded officers’ repeated directives to back away from the building, Woodward suggested that his client was unaware of such an order in the frenzy.
“This was total chaos,” the attorney said. “It is unfair to say that he ignored orders.”
Woodward described Klein as a “retired Marine and Iraqi war veteran” who deserved consideration for his past service.
“The government has proffered no evidence that he would present a danger to the community,” he said.
The suspect’s mother, Cecilia Klein, said last week that her son’s arrest was “a huge shock.”
“I was watching like everybody else on Jan. 6 as those numb-nuts climbed the walls” of the Capitol, Klein said in an interview with USA TODAY. “It never occurred to me that Fred would be part of this.”