Sunday, February 25

2020 ‘Lawyers for Trump’ volunteer deemed competent to stand trial on Jan. 6 charges

WASHINGTON — A “Lawyers for Trump” volunteer whose election conspiracy theory video was shared by one of former President Donald Trump’s sons in 2020 was ordered released from Bureau of Prisons custody last week ahead of her trial on Jan. 6 charges.

Kellye SoRelle, who had served as general counsel for the far-right Oath Keepers, was found incompetent to stand trial over the summer and had reported to a federal prison facility on Nov. 27 to undergo mental health treatment to have her competency restored. U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered SoRelle released on Friday evening after a hearing on Thursday in which the government said a federal Bureau of Prisons evaluation found that SoRelle is now competent.

SoRelle had been held at the federal medical center in Fort Worth, Texas, Bureau of Prisons records say.

Horatio Aldredge, an attorney representing SoRelle, challenged whether she is actually competent to stand trial during the hearing last week and asked for their own independent evaluation.

Kellye SoRelle, who served as general counsel for the Oath Keepers, during a deposition displayed at a hearing by the committee, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, DC., on July 12, 2022House Select Committee via AP file

Judge Mehta said they should “move quickly” on getting the independent evaluation done, and said he was worried that SoRelle might go off her medication, which would lead to a different evaluation of her competency. SoRelle’s defense said SoRelle was not on medication.

SoRelle had been in a relationship with Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers group, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in his own Jan. 6 trial in 2022 and was sentenced last year to 18 years in prison, one of the longest sentences of any Capitol attack defendant. The government had highlighted their personal relationship at trial, arguing that SoRelle didn’t do any legal work for the organization until after the Jan. 6 attack, when she took possession of Rhodes’ cell phone and, according to prosecutors, sent messages in his name. A judge ruled their texts were not protected by attorney-client privilege.

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SoRelle previously told NBC News that Rhodes wanted her contacts with Trump associates in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack.

Image: Kellye SoRelle, back center, at a Jan. 5 meeting with Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers.
Kellye SoRelle, back center, at a Jan. 5, 2021, meeting with Enrique Tarrio of the Proud Boys, left, Joshua Macias, co-founder of Veterans for Trump, Bianca Gracia of Latinos for Trump, and Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, right.Nick Quested/Goldcrest Films via U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia

After Trump’s election loss, SoRelle was in touch with Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s son about alleged election issues. SoRelle filmed a video of a man in Detroit removing a box from a white van — ballots, she suspected — and placing it in a red wagon. Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s son, posted about the video, linking to an article suggesting the video showed some sort of election malfeasance. In fact, the man was a news photographer who was wheeling in media equipment, not ballots.

A follow-up hearing in SoRelle’s case was scheduled for March 8 at 2 p.m. She faces four charges: conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of an official proceeding; entering and remaining on restricted grounds; and obstruction of justice, for allegedly inducing other Oath Keepers to delete their records.

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