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2 Coloradans charged in connection with Capitol insurrection make first court appearances

One released on unsecured bond, another held pending next hearing
Posted at 7:29 AM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 09:29:25-05

DENVER – A federal magistrate judge ordered one Colorado man arrested in recent days in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to held in custody until his next court appearance and a second man from Colorado to be released on an unsecured bond Tuesday afternoon.

Patrick Montgomery, 48, of Douglas County, and Robert Gieswein, 24, of Woodland Park, both made their initial appearances Tuesday afternoon in front of U.S. District Court of Colorado Magistrate Judge Scott T. Varholak. Both Montgomery and Gieswein appeared in court via video conference.

Montgomery ordered to be released

Montgomery was charged Tuesday. He faces charges of knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

According to an affidavit for his arrest, federal investigators were tipped off by someone who saw Montgomery in photos from inside the Capitol posted to Facebook. The tipster asked Montgomery if it was him who was pictured, and Montgomery responded: “Got nothing to hide…” according to screenshots posted within the affidavit.

After the tipster told Montgomery he was being reported to the FBI, Montgomery responded that he was “so deeply covered by the best Federal Defense lawyers in the country” and not scared. He went on to claim that his group was “let in [to the Capitol] peacefully by the police.”

Montgomery was arrested in Littleton on Sunday on a warrant issued Jan. 13, according to court documents. Montgomery allegedly posted several pictures of himself both headed to and at the D.C. rally on Jan. 6 as well, according to the affidavit.

Judge Varholak appointed an attorney for Montgomery at Tuesday’s hearing, and Montgomery told the judge he understood his rights to remain silent and to an attorney. The judge told Montgomery that he faces a maximum penalty, if convicted of the two charges, of 1 ½ years in prison, up to $105,000 in fines, or both, as well as no more than two years of supervised released.

The federal prosecutor on the case, Julia Martinez, said the Department of Justice was not seeking pretrial detention for Montgomery and said federal prosecutors and the defense had come to an agreement on Montgomery’s conditions of release.

The judge ordered that Montgomery be released on a $5,000 unsecured bond – meaning he will not have to pay the bond up front or a portion of it and would only have to pay should he violate his conditions of release. The judge ordered that Montgomery check in with federal pretrial services by noon on Wednesday.

The terms of Montgomery’s bond include requirements he not violate any state, federal or local law while on release; that he notify the court and pretrial services of changes to his address or phone number; that he surrender any passports within two days and not leave the country; that he advise pretrial services if he travels anywhere outside of Colorado; and that he not possess firearms or weapons, or use any controlled substances, including marijuana.

Judge Varholak continued a preliminary hearing and identity hearing for Montgomery to Feb. 2, at which time the court will determine whether he is the same Patrick Montgomery as the one in the affidavit and if there is evidence to support the charges against him.

Gieswein ordered held for time being

Just prior to Montgomery’s hearing, Gieswein also appeared in front of Judge Varholak. Both he and Montgomery were represented by attorney Matthew Belcher, an assistant federal public defender, at their initial appearances, but Gieswein will also be appointed counsel, Judge Varholak said, based on his financial affidavit.

Gieswein faces five federal counts for his alleged part in the storming of the Capitol: assault on a federal officer, destruction of government property, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering a restricted building without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and aiding and abetting the destruction of federal property.

According to an affidavit unsealed Sunday – a day before he turned himself in to the Teller County Sheriff’s Office on Monday – Gieswein appears to be affiliated with the right-wing militia group the Three Percenters, and he allegedly "assaulted and intimidated U.S. Capitol Police officers with a spray canister, temporary barrier, and baseball bat” before unlawfully and forcibly entering the Capitol.

The affidavit said that Gieswein was pictured at the Capitol that day wearing a patch on his tactical vest for Woodland Wild Dogs, a private paramilitary training group he runs.

The judge said that if he is convicted of all five counts, Gieswein potentially faces dozens of years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Martinez, the federal prosecutor, asked the court that Gieswein’s detention, identity and preliminary hearings be continued until Friday and that he be held in custody until at least then – a request the defense did not object to and which the judge granted. Those hearings are all scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m., the judge said.

Once the three hearings for both men are completed, their cases will go to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the district where the charges were filed, for prosecution. Both men will likely have to travel to Washington, D.C., for their hearings in the future, Judge Varholak said.

Two other men with Colorado ties have also been charged for their alleged actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6: Klete Keller, a former Olympic gold medalist swimmer from Colorado Springs, who was released on a personal recognizance bond after his first appearance; and Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a man who long lived in Georgia who is being held in custody after he allegedly traveled from Colorado to D.C. armed several firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and threatened to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was denied release last week.