Jan. 6 rioter accused of destroying evidence sentenced to more than 4 years in prison

A California man accused of organizing a group of Jan. 6 rioters, participating in the riots and attempting to destroy evidence of his involvement was sentenced to more than four years in prison on Tuesday, the Justice Department announced .

Edward Badalian was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding in April. He was sentenced to four years and three months in prison and was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution.

Prosecutors allege that Badalian used a Telegram group chat named “PATRIOTS45MAGA Gang” to encourage violence against political enemies, and at one point said he wanted to arrest President Biden.

Badalian and the other members of the group sent hundreds of messages about committing violence against political enemies and revolution against the government, prosecutors allege.

“We need to violently remove traitors and if they are in key positions, rapidly replace them with able-bodied Patriots,” he said in the chat, according to prosecutors.

He later attended the Stop the Steal rally in front of the Capitol Building with the same group and participated in the riots. Prosecutors said he entered the Capitol Building through a broken window after clashing with police and rifled through a Capitol office looking for “intel.”

On the drive from Washington back to California after the riots, Badalian called into the “InfoWars” web show “War Room” and discussed his participation under the pseudonym “Turbo.” He said in the interview that a video showed him fighting what he believed were members of “Antifa” disguised as Trump supporters during the riots.

“War Room” host, Owen Shroyer, was sentenced to two months in jail earlier this month for his involvement in the riots.

After that interview, prosecutors allege Badalian confronted another rioter about destroying evidence of him and the group being present at the Capitol Building. Prosecutors allege he wrote to the other rioter, “I want to help you delete everything and to transfer files to a secure hard drive.”

That other rioter, who was not named, did not delete the evidence, prosecutors wrote. Badalian’s efforts to cover up his Jan. 6 participation also included changing his phone number, prosecutors said. 

More than 1,100 people have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 riots, the Justice Department said, including about 400 for assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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Georgia judge orders jurors’ identities be kept secret in Trump trial

The state judge overseeing former President Trump’s criminal case in Georgia ordered Monday that the trial jurors’ identities be kept private.

The order grants a request from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D), who raised concerns about jurors’ safety and the potential for doxxing — or the publishing of private contact information — given the significant publicity surrounding the case.

But Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee did narrow the language of the restrictions in response to First Amendment concerns raised by a coalition of media organizations.

His order mandates that jurors be identified only by their number in court proceedings.

“No party shall disclose during the pendency of the trial any juror/prospective juror information that would reveal a juror’s/prospective juror’s identity, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, or identifying employment information,” it states.

The order also says that “no person shall videotape, photograph, draw in a realistic or otherwise identifiable manner or otherwise record images, statements, or conversations of jurors/prospective jurors in any manner” that would violate an existing ban on recording jurors in Georgia’s court system.

McAfee had scheduled a hearing Tuesday morning to discuss the matter, but it will no longer be held. 

Prosecutors had raised the concerns after the grand jury, which voted to indict Trump and 18 others in the case last month, received threats upon their names being made public.

Willis’s office noted that the grand jurors’ purported addresses were shared on far-right forums. Prosecutors also shared with the judge that Willis, her family and other prosecutors had faced threats and doxxing.

“Based on the doxing of Fulton County grand jurors and the Fulton County District Attorney, it is clearly foreseeable that trial jurors will likely be doxed should their names be made available to the public,” Willis’s office wrote in the request.

“If that were to happen, the effect on jurors’ ability to decide the issues before them impartially and without outside influence would undoubtedly be placed in jeopardy, both placing them in physical danger and materially affecting all of the Defendants’ constitutional rights to a fair and impartial jury,” they added.

Two of Trump’s co-defendants, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, are set to go to trial beginning Oct. 23 after they invoked their right to a speedy trial.

But the former president and the other 16 defendants will be tried later, though the judge has not yet set a date.

The defendants face a combined 41 counts over accusations of entering a months-long conspiracy to unlawfully keep Trump in power following the 2020 election. All the defendants pleaded not guilty .

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