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Judge gives chilly response to Jan. 6 defendant's Jamaican vacation request

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said allowing the defendant's request to take a 10-day winter vacation in Jamaica was not the right way to mark the anniversary of Jan. 6.

A federal court judge in Washington, D.C. on Thursday rejected a Jan. 6 defendant's request to take a winter vacation in Jamaica with his girlfriend.

Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell noted that the defendant, Anthony Robert Williams, filed the request on the one-year anniversary of the attack on the Capitol.

"Defendant, while on pretrial release and facing charges including a serious felony offense, stemming from his alleged actions on January 6, 2021, wishes to leave the Michigan winter to spend ten days in the warmer climes of Jamaica to meet the family of a woman with whom defendant has been in a committed relationship for 'more than a year,'" Howell wrote in a ruling, shooting down the request on the same day it was filed.

"Although such a meeting may be an important step in defendant's personal relationship, defendant surrendered his entitlement to unfettered international travel when, also 'more than a year' ago, on December 30, 2020, he allegedly announced his intent to 'Storm the Swamp,' and one week later, on January 6, 2021, followed through by joining a mob at the Capitol," the judge wrote.

Howell noted that Williams — who, according to prosecutors, described himself as an “Operation Swamp Storm Veteran” after the riot — allegedly called his participation in the event the "proudest day of [his] life."

Williams' attorney, Benton Martin, declined to comment on the ruling.

Williams was arrested in March after the FBI got a tip online that he had bragged about being one of the rioters and posted, before later deleting, pictures and video of himself at the Capitol, prosecutors said.

An FBI affidavit includes photographs reportedly showing Anthony Robert Williams inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
An FBI affidavit includes photographs reportedly showing Anthony Robert Williams inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.FBI

The FBI said it recovered the videos, including one where he spoke about having "stormed" the Capitol and "pushed back the cops."

He's charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a restricted building and the Capitol Building, as well as parading or demonstrating in a capitol building.

Williams has pleaded not guilty. The court docket suggests he's been negotiating a plea deal.

His vacation request said his girlfriend’s family resides in Negril, Jamaica, and "Mr. Williams is requesting permission to visit Jamaica to meet her family from January 31, 2022, to February 10, 2022."

"This Court will not commemorate the one-year anniversary of this attack on the Capitol by granting defendant's request for non-essential foreign travel when he is awaiting judgment for his actions on that day," Howell concluded in the ruling.