By Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand, CNN
US District Judge Amit Mehta ruled Thursday that the jury in the Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy case will not see a “death list” of Georgia election officials allegedly written by a defendant, saying that it is “too prejudicial.”
The document was found in a search of defendant Thomas Caldwell’s home when he was arrested in January 2021, according to prosecutors. The handwritten note was titled “DEATH LIST,” and had the names of Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, both of whom were the subjects of a conspiracy theory about voter fraud, prosecutors said.
Freeman and Moss testified publicly to the House select committee investigating January 6 in June about how the conspiracy led to constant harassment from supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Mehta had previously ruled that prosecutors could not present the document to the jury, but Justice Department lawyers asked the judge to reconsider, arguing that Caldwell’s defense attorney opened the door to introducing the death list in his cross-examination of an FBI agent.
Prosecutors cited a line of questioning from Caldwell’s attorney, David Fischer, that claimed Caldwell was only preparing to confront antifa in DC and did not consider violence against lawmakers or government officials.
“Evidence that Caldwell intended to commit violence against these particular employees is directly relevant to that criminal objective and flatly contradicts Caldwell’s conjured impression that his attention and actions were narrowly tailored to rally attendance and self-defense against ‘antifa’ individuals unrelated to the election process,” prosecutors wrote in their motion.
Mehta wasn’t persuaded that the list itself was relevant.
“I continue to believe about the evidence…is at most what it shows is Mr. Caldwell maybe, maybe at most that he had some thinking about violence,” Mehta said in court Thursday, but the “note itself has (nothing) to do with” the government’s case.
Caldwell and four other defendants have pleaded not guilty to the seditious conspiracy charges they face, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
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