Lebanon man charged in Capitol unrest switches defense counsel

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Prosecutors say this still photo captured by an MPD body camera on Jan. 6 shows Kyle Fitzsimons lowering his shoulder and charging at a police line under a Capitol archway.

WASHINGTON - The Lebanon, Maine, man charged in the Capitol unrest of Jan. 6 had a status conference in a District of Columbia courtroom on Friday during which his defense counsel withdrew from the case.

Defense attorney Greg Hunter wrote in his motion that he and co-counsel Joel Anders had both been asked to withdraw so that Kyle Fitzsimons, 37, could be represented by a federal public defender.

In the motion Hunter noted that "this case is still at a very early state - discovery has only just begun and a trial date has not yet been set ... co counsel may withdraw without prejudice to the defendant or the United States."

Judge Reggie B. Walton approved the motion for counsel to withdraw.

Fizsimons, who is being held on no bail, pleaded not guilty on all charges during an April arraignment, which came more than 10 weeks after his arrest in Lebanon on Feb. 4.

Walton also approved the time from Friday's hearing till another Status Conference on May 21 to be excluded in connection to any and all speedy trial obligations.

Fitzsimons was arrested on Feb. 4 in Lebanon and waived his right to detention and probable cause hearings in Portland on Feb. 11. He was then transferred to a Rhode Island Detention Center until late March when he was transferred again to the DC jail where he remains.

A 10-count indictment filed against Fitzsimons in February accuses the husband, father of one and former Hannaford butcher with obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings, two counts of civil disorder and two counts of inflicting bodily injury on certain officers.

He was denied bail during his detention hearing on April 7 with Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia presiding.

During the hearing, however, Harvey questioned Assistant U.S. Attorney Puja Bhatia as to why no plea deal had been offered Fitzsimons.

"Why no plea deal, the government doesn't need more investigation for this case," Harvey said adding that Fitzsimons was not part of any organized violence like the Proud Boys or the Oath Takers.

"This is not a complex case," he added. "Three months in, no plea?"

Conversely in his motion to be dismissed from the case Hunter noted, "This case is still at a very early stage - discovery has only just begun."

Fitzsimons faces more than 40 years in jail if convicted on all counts.

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