Daniel Egtvedt wants prison letters kept out of riot trial
Daniel Egtvedt, of Maryland, will appear before a jury in June for assaulting police officers on January 6
WASHINGTON — A Maryland man wants a judge to block a jury from seeing jailhouse letters he wrote to a sheriff asking for help and other statements made to law enforcement after his riot arrest at the Capitol.
Daniel Egtvedet, of Garrett County, Maryland, is scheduled to begin his trial June 6 before U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper. Egtvedt was charged last March with multiple counts related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, including civil disturbance, obstruction of official process, and assault and resisting police.
Video released following a legal challenge by a media coalition that includes WUSA9 appears to show Egtvedt berating and physically engaging with police on at least three occasions on January 6. Video appears to show Egtvedt breaking into the Capitol with a large group, shouting at officers in the crypt, trying to outrun officers in the hall of columns and eventually being held back by at least five officers, before being pushed back, punching in a column.
Egtvedt’s attorney, Kira Anne West, said her client suffered a concussion and lost consciousness when his head slammed into the column, although video appears to show Egtvedt never stopped screaming when the police lifted him off the ground and pushed him out of the Capitol. West said Egtvedt then gave “numerous” statements outside the Capitol when he may have suffered a concussion – but these are the statements he gave to police more d a month later, which she wants a judge to remove.
In a motion filed before Cooper, West claims Egtvedt was improperly induced to speak to police during his arrest without warning about his constitutional rights. She also argued that a “coercive atmosphere” created by custody and interrogation had the effect of undermining the privilege against self-incrimination.
In a motion to respond filed by the DOJ on Monday, prosecutors explained exactly what statements Egtvedt allegedly made. These include asking an FBI agent if he recorded it at the United States Capitol on January 6 – an implied admission that Egtvedt was there – and allegedly telling a soldier about the State of Maryland that he would need multiple officers to transfer him to DC and “he would fight to keep them from taking him.
While in custody in Maryland, Egtvedt also hand-wrote two letters to the Garrett County Sheriff asking him to intervene in his case. In the letters, Egtvedt describes himself as a “legal citizen” of Garrett County and claims the arrest violates his “organic constitutional rights.” Egtvedt also warned that if he were transferred to DC, it would “place me as a political prisoner in a foreign country.” Later, as he was being driven into the district, Egtvedt allegedly asked the officers which “port” he was being taken to and mentioned the “maritime law”.
Many of these phrases, including references to a “port” and “maritime law” in particular, are associated with the sovereign citizen movement – a loose, right-wing, anti-government ideology that often believes, among other things, that the County sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officials in the country.
Egtvedt’s lawyer said on Tuesday that she was unaware of any connection he had with the sovereign citizen movement.
Egtvedt, a former Republican donor, was arrested last year while trying to physically stop his brother from taking their mother to get a COVID-19 vaccine which he told police was according to him a method of government population control. Egtvedt also posted support for the QAnon conspiracy theory on Facebook.
Prosecutors argued that all of Egtvedt’s statements to police should be admissible and that the letters he wrote to the sheriff were voluntary statements.
Egtvedt was initially remanded in custody, but was released on bail in April under restrictions at his home in Oakland, Maryland.
It was not immediately clear if the Garrett County Sheriff ever responded to Egtvedt’s request.
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