Court Battles

Defense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of US Capitol

Defense lawyers for alleged suspects in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol are getting tours of the building in May and June.

Federal prosecutors made the disclosure in late-April via a court filing for Ezekiel Kurt Stecher, who was allegedly seen on video forcibly pushing against police officers while attempting to enter the Capitol on the Lower West Terrace.

USA Today first reported the tours late last month

In the late-April filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Cole said that U.S. Capitol Police arranged five dates for crime scene tours of the Capitol.

The first was scheduled to take place last Monday, and the second was to take place Saturday morning. The last three are expected to occur on May 9, May 31 and June 5.

Among the sites are the Speaker's Lobby, outside of which Ashli Babbit was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer while attempting to climb over a barricade. The officer is not facing charges for the incident.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) office is also a stop, where Richard Barnett of Arkansas posed for photos at Pelosi's desk and with her mail. A judge ordered him to be released from jail until his trial.

Also on the tour is the House and Senate chambers, as well as the Senate gallery.

The tours are restricted to counsel; no guests are allowed and no cameras are permitted.

The tours come as part of the process to build cases against defendants in the riot that sought to disrupt the certification of President Biden's Electoral College victory. More than 400 have been arrested in connection with the deadly riot that day.

CNN reported that the first tour happened Monday, during which Capitol Police Inspector Thomas Loyd led a dozen attorneys through the halls.

Lloyd has been praised for his actions on Jan. 6. The head of the union representing Capitol Police officers previously told The Hill that it wanted Loyd to replace Chief Yoganada Pittman.

"The rank-and-file want Inspector Tom Loyd," Gus Papathanasiou, chair of the U.S. Capitol Police Labor Committee, told The Hill at the time. "He fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the troops. He's the only one that works and communicates with the union, and he's well respected."

The Hill has reached out to U.S. Capitol Police for comment.