Prosecutors and defense attorneys continued to trade legal volleys Friday in the case of Joshua Macias, the election denier from Virginia who traveled to the Pennsylvania Convention Center — in a QAnon-emblazoned Hummer containing weapons and ammunition — as votes were being counted in the 2020 presidential election.
District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office has sought to have Macias, 43, sent back to prison while awaiting trial on weapons- and election-related charges, due, in part, to his presence outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and his use of social media in violation of the conditions of his bail.
Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons said on Monday that Macias, a cofounder of Vets for Trump, had “clearly violated” some of his bail conditions, but she declined to have him jailed. She gave him a stern warning:
“Stay off social media, Mr. Macias.”
Macias and alleged accomplice Antonio LaMotta, 63, were arrested near the Convention Center in November 2020 after the FBI relayed a tip to police that people were headed to Philadelphia with weapons to “straighten things out” with the election.
Police recovered handguns, an AR-15-style rifle, 160 rounds of ammunition, a lock-picking kit, and a samurai sword from Macias and LaMotta and in the Hummer. Krasner has described it as a potential mass shooting incident that was averted. They are awaiting trial in that case.
On Monday, Krasner held a news conference to announce a contempt motion against Macias due to new information surrounding Jan. 6, including the indictment of the leader of the far-right Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and video of him meeting with Macias on the eve of the insurrection.
Krasner had described Macias as a “confidante” of the Proud Boys and the militant Oath Keepers who has “proven how dangerous he can be.” Lisa Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, which oversees elections in the city, joined Krasner on Monday and described Macias and LaMotta as “those people who tried to kill us.’”
But Clemons on Friday denied the contempt motion.
Defense attorney William J. Brennan called Krasner’s Monday news conference a “dog and pony show” and suggested that a gag order be placed on all parties.
“Four days ago, you had the DA handing out the torches to the people to go burn Frankenstein and now the Commonwealth’s entire case regarding sanctions has been dismissed,” Brennan said after Friday’s hearing.
During the hearing, Macias’ lawyers played videos from several character witnesses, including veterans and religious leaders, who described Macias as a God-loving father and husband who should remain free pending the outcome of his trial. They said he is not violent.
Staff writer Jeremy Roebuck contributed to this article.