Federico Klein, a former low-level State Department official, was arrested last month and ordered detained before trial. But Judge John Bates reversed that decision in a written opinion on Monday, saying he was influenced by a recent appeals court ruling that imposed stricter limits on which alleged Capitol rioters should be jailed while their cases move through the backlogged court system.
Klein was indicted on eight criminal charges, including obstructing congressional proceedings and assaulting police officers with a riot shield. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a 28-page opinion, Bates said Klein’s situation was “a close call” but that the Justice Department ultimately fell short of demonstrating that he poses a “substantial” future threat to the public.
“He does not pose no continuing danger, as he contends, given his demonstrated willingness to use force to advance his personal beliefs over legitimate government objectives,” Bates wrote. “But what future risk he does present can be mitigated with supervision and other strict conditions on his release.”
The case is the latest example of a Capitol riot defendant successfully challenging their detention.
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals handed down an influential ruling last month that significantly narrowed the ability of district judges to keep alleged rioters in jail even if they weren’t charged with any violent crimes.