Sarasota defendant in Capitol riot re-enters not guilty pleas

Jan. 6 marks one-year since the deadly insurrection at the U.S Capitol.
Jan. 6 marks one-year since the deadly insurrection at the U.S Capitol.
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 12:13 PM EST
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Sarasota chiropractor reentered not guilty pleas to five charges in an updated indictment stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrections, court records show.

A sixth superceding indictment against Joseph Hackett and 16 other Oath Keeper co-defendants was filed Dec. 1 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Hackett is charged with conspiracy; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; entering a restricted building; and tampering with documents or proceedings.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta dismissed a defense motion to dismiss the two most serious charges -- conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Defense attorneys contended, in essence, that discussion of planning to disrupt events and the Capitol falls under First Amendment protections, and the certification of election results was not technically an official proceeding.

Mehta was not swayed. “The court is persuaded by none of their contentions,” he wrote in his opinion.

Meanwhile, the government continues to lay out its case that Hackett and his co-defendants conspired and breeched the Capitol building to try to block Congress from certifying the 2020 election results that propelled Democrat Joe Biden to the White House despite Donald Trump’s assertion that massive ballot fraud robbed him of a victory.

In a status report filed by prosecutors in November, prosecutors reported they have compiled a mountain of evidence including:

  • 142 files consisting of U.S. Secret Service surveillance exterior camera footage from January 6, 2021.
  • 4,204 files consisting of U.S. Capitol Police closed circuit video footage from 123 cameras. The contents of footage shared includes video from the interior of the U.S. Capitol.
  • Approximately 40 hours of body camera footage recorded by police officers on that day.

Hackett remains out of jail, under house arrest. Under the term of imposed High Intensity Supervision Program, Hackett must wear a GPS tracking device and may only leave his home for medical necessities, court appearances or other activities specifically approved by the court.

Hackett was ordered to surrender any weapons in his possession. He may not have any contact with members of Oath Keepers, and is forbidden to participate in his spouse’s podcast. Any access to computers, smartphones, tablets or any device that would allow him to communicate through either encrypted or non-encrypted applications is also forbidden.

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