Rochester man charged in Capitol riot argues jail conditions violate human rights

Crime

In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, rioters, including Dominic Pezzola, center with beard, are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers make up a fraction of the more than 300 Trump supporters charged so far in the siege that led to Trump’s second impeachment and resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer. But several of their leaders, members and associates have become the central targets of the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WROC) — Dominic Pezzola, the Rochester man seen on video smashing a window at the U.S. Capitol with a police shield on January 6, filed a motion for conditional release Friday.

Pezzola is accused of smashing a window at the U.S. Capitol, smoking a cigar inside the building, and threatening to kill former Vice President Mike Pence.

The motion filed Friday argues conditions in the D.C. jail where Pezzola is being held violate his human rights, and prevent him from privately speaking with his attorneys and reviewing the evidence against him.

Pezzola’s attorneys say “Individuals who are housed in the D.C. Jail, who are accused of committing crimes on January 6, 2021, at The Capitol are treated differently than all other prisoners who are housed in the jail.”

They say Pezzola is kept in his cell for 22 or 23 hours daily, and meetings with his lawyers are held in open areas where “everyone can hear the conversations including prison guards.” They argue this strips Pezzola of his attorney-client privilege.

The motion also argues that Pezzola is forced to share a fingernail and toenail clipper with dozens of other inmates without it being disinfected between use, and that “access to personal hygiene such as showers is nearly nonexistent.”

If Pezzola is not granted bail, his attorneys argue he should be given access to a laptop he could use to review video and audio of the January 6 Capitol riot.

Pezzola’s attorneys unsuccessfully filed for his release in February. That motion was denied in March when a judge signed a detention order that holds Pezzola until his trial date, which has not yet been set.

Read the full court filing

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