(WASHINGTON) — The Jan. 6 defendant arrested near the Washington, D.C., home of former President Barack Obama last week attempted to evade the Secret Service and was looking for “entrance points” along the street to enter the restricted area, court documents filed by prosecutors Wednesday said.
Taylor Taranto allegedly made “several concerning statements” while livestreaming outside the Obama home, prosecutors said in a memo ahead of Taranto’s detention hearing originally set for Wednesday afternoon. (The hearing was subsequently rescheduled.)
Taranto is facing misdemeanor charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, but despite the lower-level allegations, the federal government asked he be locked up pending his trial.
In the detention memo, the government also alleges Taranto re-posted a post from former President Donald Trump citing what was supposedly the location of the Obama home.
“On June 29, 2023, Former President Donald Trump posted what he claimed was the address of Former President Barack Obama on the social media platform Truth Social. Taranto used his own Truth Social account to re-post the address,” the government said.
“On Telegram, Taranto then stated, ‘We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s,'” according to prosecutors.
“Taranto differs from other misdemeanor defendants charged for participating in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol,” the detention memo filed by federal prosecutors said. “Taranto has continued to act on the same motivations that caused him to breach the Capitol by communicating threats to lawmakers who oppose his views. He has attempted to express those threats by breaching an elementary school where he projected footage of the January 6 attack because of his impression that such conduct would convey ‘shockwaves’ to a member of Congress who resided nearby, doing so because of his belief that the Congressman ‘hated’ Capitol riot participants.”
Federal prosecutors allege that Taranto used his YouTube channel to livestream himself at a Maryland elementary school, where he, among other things, walked around the school, into the gymnasium and used a film projector to project a film related to Jan. 6.
He said he chose the school because of its proximity to Rep. Jamie Raskin’s house, a Democrat on the House’s previous Jan. 6 committee and leading Trump critic, but said he didn’t tell his viewers where Raskin lived because he wanted Raskin “to myself,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors also alleged that Taranto threatened House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, former President Obama and former Obama aide and current Biden White House official John Podesta.
“Coming at you McCarthy. Can’t stop what’s coming. Nothing can stop what’s coming,” he allegedly said during a livestream.
Taranto’s lack of an address frustrated law enforcement attempting to locate and arrest him.
Prosecutors also said he made several threats to blow up federal buildings.
Taranto has 20 firearms registered to him and two were with him in the car when authorities searched his car after he was arrested last week, they said.
“To date, the remaining 18 guns are at large; law enforcement has neither custody of those guns nor knowledge of their whereabouts,” the detention memo says.
Tartanto allegedly entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 and fought with other rioters using a purported cane, which prosecutors said was for the explicit purpose of using as a weapon.
In June, he was also, according to prosecutors, outside of the D.C. jail, in what is called “Freedom Corner,” an area for supporters of those arrested during the Jan. 6 riot to protest their detention.
“Taranto has been banned from the area due to his offensive conduct toward other protestors,” court documents say. “It has also been reported that he was displaying erratic. and incoherent behavior.”
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