“I have no reason to believe that Mr. Munchel is part of any organized, collective action against the government,” Frensley said. “The court believes … Mr. Munchel poses no obvious and clear threat to the security of this community.”
Frensley ordered Munchel to be detained at home with site surveillance while awaiting trial for conspiracy and involvement in civil unrest, as well as wrongdoing for illegally entering a restricted building and for disorderly behavior.
The prosecution announced plans to appeal the release order to a judge in Washington, DC, as it has done in at least three other riot-related cases. Frensley agreed to hold Munchel in custody until 11 a.m. Monday while prosecutors seek relief from the DC judge.
However, Frensley suggested that the prosecutor’s presentation was aimed at considering the emotions triggered by the Capitol attack, rather than the legal factors dictating when a defendant should be released.
“I’ve made my decision,” said the judge. “I am satisfied and confident that the decisions I have made in this case are correct.”
One factor that was clearly beneficial to Munchel: He traveled to Washington DC and walked into the Capitol with his mother Lisa Eisenhart. She is also charged in the case, but testimony during a long hearing on Friday showed that Eisenhart was the one who suggested entering the Capitol.
Frensley also heard that Munchel allegedly stashed a pocket knife in a backpack and left it outside. One video says he didn’t want to bring guns to the Capitol. Munchel’s attorney, Caryll Alpert, said Munchel believed the taser he was carrying was legal to take him to the Capitol because he ran into the DC police the night before and they didn’t try to get him to him to decrease.
The prosecutors stressed Munchel’s exuberant behavior in the Senate and shouted sentences like: “I want this hammer!”
“He clearly has extreme views if he were willing to participate in such behavior,” said US assistant attorney Ben Schrader. “There is no reason to believe that he would not engage in this behavior in the future. I have no idea what that would look like. He showed the court what he is ready for.”
Late in the hearing, as it became increasingly apparent that Frensley was likely to order Munchel’s release, a Washington-based prosecutor jumped into the videoconference hearing to claim that Munchel could attack others with conflicting political views.
Assistant US attorney Ahmed Baset wanted to produce evidence that Munchel threatened and got his hands on a Bloomberg News reporter in a Washington, DC hotel on the night of the riot. However, Frensley said the evidence portion of the hearing was over and he declined to consider it.