Court Battles

Judge orders Jan. 6 defendant with cancer freed after ‘deplorable’ conditions found at DC jail

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered that a Jan. 6 defendant diagnosed with cancer be transferred to another prison after an inspection at a D.C jail found that prisoners were living in “deplorable” conditions.

Judge Royce Lamberth ordered that Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys, be immediately transferred to another jail and then released to home detention for chemotherapy as soon as possible, CNN reported. He stated that the “court has zero confidence” that the D.C. jail would provide proper treatment and not retaliate against Worrell.

Last month, Lamberth called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a civil rights investigation into the alleged civil rights violations that Jan. 6 defendants suffered under D.C. Jail Warden Wanda Patten and the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, Quincy Booth.

“I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6th defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of January 6th defendants … in this and maybe other cases,” Lamberth said at the time.

Lamberth held the two officials in contempt following a long delay in paperwork needed to approve a surgery Worrell reportedly needed on his pinky finger after a fall earlier this year.

CNN noted that the U.S. Marshals Service is currently moving 400 prisoners out of a section of the D.C. jail — Worrell being the first of them — after an inspection discovered poor conditions, including water being shut off for days, toilets being clogged and one inmate developed an infection when he was unable to wash himself after being pepper sprayed.

Worrell, who is from Florida, allegedly pepper sprayed police officers during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and was arrested in March. He has been indicted on six federal charges and has pleaded not guilty.

Since being incarcerated, Worrell has contracted COVID-19 and has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Last month, prosecutors argued that Worrell was making false claims about his health, writing in court filings that they have “repeatedly been unable to sort fact from fiction.”

Prosecutors said Worrell’s claims have “often been refuted, or at best unsubstantiated, by the medical notes and records that the government later obtains.” According to the prosecutors, the pinky surgery Worrell sought approval for was “not medically necessary and not urgent, but instead an elective procedure,” citing an orthopedic specialist.

An attorney representing Worrell, Alex Stavrou, shot back at prosecutors’ characterization and asserted that his client’s medical issues were real.

“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,” Stavrou said.

When reached by The Hill regarding Lamberth’s order, Stavrou said in a statement, “We are pleased with the Court’s Order allowing Mr. Worrell to obtain the life-saving cancer treatments he needs.  We are also pleased that over 400 inmates will be transferred to facilities where they will receive proper treatment and care, and not be subjected to the deplorable conditions noted by the United States Marshall’s investigation.” 
Tags D.C. Jan. 6 Capitol attack
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