Federal prosecutors say that a Capitol riot defendant made false claims about his medical status while incarcerated in a Washington, D.C. jail.
In a court filing on Wednesday, the government said it has “repeatedly been unable to sort fact from fiction” in reviewing claims of mistreatment made by Christopher Worrell.
Prosecutors said the claims have “often been refuted, or at best unsubstantiated, by the medical notes and records that the government later obtains.”
Worrell is accused of using pepper spray against a line of police officers during the riots. He pleaded not guilty in April to five charges in connection with the riots.
Worrell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and contracted COVID-19 while incarcerated.
But the government largely took issue with a surgery Worrell received after claiming he fractured his pinky finger in May after a fall.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth held two D.C. prison officials in contempt after a long delay in turning over medical records needed to approve the surgery.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that they learned from the orthopedic specialist who treated Worrell that the surgery he wanted was “not medically necessary and not urgent, but instead an elective procedure.”
The government further said that the fracture had likely healed sometime before Oct. 14, and that Worrell has denied experiencing pain at rest from the fracture. Worrell cancelled the surgery last Wednesday to seek a second opinion.
Alex Stavrou, who is representing Worrell, told The Hill that his formal response to the government’s claims is due Monday.
“We disagree with the characterizations of Mr. Worrell’s medical conditions, and highly disagree he made any false statements,” Stavrou said, adding that his client's surgery hasn't occurred due to “poor care from the jail, and the now ‘changing’ of the doctor’s opinions.”
“Mr. Worrell also suffers from Non-Hodkins Lymphoma. To date he has not received chemotherapy. He has never caused any delay in seeking treatment for his cancer,” he added.