by WorldTribune Staff, June 2, 2021
Federal prosecutors have dropped charges against a New York man who was accused of participating in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Christopher Kelly is the first among more than 450 people charged in the Capitol breach to have the Department of Justice withdraw the case.
Kelly was arrested on Jan. 20 after a paid FBI informant told agents that Kelly was posting material on a Facebook Messenger app about the his plans to be in Washington on Jan. 6. The informant said a photo taken inside the Capitol was also posted, according to the FBI.
In the charging documents filed in court, an FBI agent said, “I believe the messages and image … reflect that Chris Kelly was using this account to inform associates that he had breached the Capitol and was inside.”
The court document accompanying the charges included photos that the FBI said showed Kelly on the Capitol grounds, but they did not include any further indication that he entered the building.
Kelly was charged with obstructing an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, unlawfully entering a restricted building, and disorderly conduct.
“The government and defense counsel have discussed the merits of the case, and upon reflection of the facts currently known to the government, the government believes that dismissal without prejudice at this time serves the interests of justice,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tejpal Chaw wrote in a two-page motion.
Dismissal without prejudice gives prosecutors an opportunity to refile charges at a later date, if they decide to do so.
Although Kelly is the first Jan. 6 suspect to have charges dropped, it is expected that other cases will also be dismissed.