A pastor from Florida is facing criminal charges for being at the United States Capitol last January 6 attended a court hearing on the case Thursday last week.
SRN News said Global Outreach Ministries Pastor James Cusick, Jr. attended the recent preliminary hearing for the federal criminal charges against him for being present in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 this year as one of former President Donald Trump's supporters. Cusick, 72 years old, is said to be facing four misdemeanor charges.
The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said the charges for Cusick's case, the number for which is 1-21-mj-485, specifically are "Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Building or Grounds Without Lawful Authority," "Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building," and "Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds."
As per SRN News, Cusick came to the U.S. Capitol with his 35-year-old son, Casey, and other parishioners. Cusick's son and a 69-year-old parishioner, David Lesperance, also face similar charges. However, Cusick was the only one present during the hearing. Cusick is said to be the first clergy man out of the 535 people charged for taking part in the riot.
An FBI affidavit offered as evidence photos of Cusick present inside the Capitol building during the riot. Cusick's photo taken the day before while he stood in front of Trump's Washington hotel was also part of the evidences in the affidavit. The affidavit also contained Lesperance's statement that Cusick was indeed present in Trump's Save America Rally before he went to the Capitol.
Law & Crime reported that it was Lesperance who "ratted out" Cusick when the authorities visited him in his home. Lesperance identified Cusick "as one of the people present at the Capitol" while admitting he himself "he was in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8" with his pastor.
Lesperance initially refused to name his companions in the Capitol. He only indicated that he was with his pastor. The FBI, however, were able to connect Lesperance to Cusick through social media, particularly through an Instagram photo that included both of them. The distance of Lesperance's residence to that of Cusick's, which was seven miles apart, was also taken into consideration.
The FBI secured search warrants for the two men's phone history and were eventually able to trace their whereabouts on January 6. Lesperance also admitted deleting pictures and videos when they were inside the Capitol "out of fear of negative repercussions." But the FBI was able to access Lesperance's iCloud account that gave away copies of what he deleted, which included Cusick's photos that were already in the FBI affidavit.
During the hearing, plans to consolidate the cases of Cusick, his son, and Lesperance was revealed. The case is currently being heard by United States District Judge Randolph Moss. The next hearing is set on September 28. Cusick is said to have pleaded not guilty on the charges against him and is on bail.
It's worth noting that some people who remain unindicted for the chaos that occurred include a government "operator" was confirmed to be involved in planning the Capitol riot attack early this month through an expose via the National File.
The said "operator" was a D.C. Police who went undercover during the riot and mentioned in court documents on the January 6 arrest. The confirmation on the government "operator" is said to be "the first admission from the government that an undercover federal operative was covertly interacting with patriot groups ahead of the violence at the Capitol."