FILE PHOTO: Eric Gavelek Munchel, who was photographed inside the Capitol carrying zip ties, is seen in this January 9, 2021 booking photo provided by Nashville Police. Picture taken January 9, 2021. Mandatory credit Nashville Police/Handout via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Tennessee mother and son facing felony charges for participating in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot have not responded to plea bargain proposals advanced to them by federal prosecutors, a federal judge heard on Monday.
At a status hearing before U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Goemaat said plea deal offers set to expire on Monday had been extended last month to accused riot participants Eric Munchel, 30, and Lisa Eisenhart, 57. Both face charges including conspiracy and obstructing an official proceeding.
Neither the prosecutor nor defense lawyers revealed details of the proposed plea deals although Sandra Roland, a federal public defender representing Munchel, said her client had not rejected any offer.
The prosecutor argued that defense lawyers already had access to vast quantities of discovery evidence, including 2,300 hours of police body camera video. But Gregory Smith, a lawyer for Eisenhart, said it would be “premature” for his client to consider a plea offer before further evidence was turned over. Lamberth set a further hearing for Dec. 13.
The riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump broke out as Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s November presidential election victory. Prosecutors said last week that more than 600 defendants had been arrested on riot-related charges.
Prosecutors allege that on Jan. 6, after working their way through the crowd outside the Capitol, Munchel and Eisenhart entered the building wearing tactical vests “after stashing unidentified weapons in a backpack outside.” Investigators say Munchel wore a Taser in a hip holster.
Once inside the building, prosecutors say, Munchel and Eisenhart carried zip-ties into the Senate gallery. They left the building after around 12 minutes.
Judge Lamberth initially ordered Munchel and Eisenhart held without bail but released them on home detention following an appeals court ruling.
Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Gregorio