ORLANDO, Fla. — A 40-year-old Brevard County man accused of participating in the January 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol is being detained in Central Florida pending a federal hearing next week in Orlando.
What You Need To Know
- 40-year-old Brevard County man is accused of participating in US Capitol siege
- Kenneth Troy Harrelson appeared before judge in Orlando, faces Monday hearing
- He's accused of charges related to disrupting a government proceeding, entering restricted area
Kenneth Troy Harrelson of Titusville on Thursday briefly appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Embry Kidd after he was accused of three federal charges related to disrupting a government proceeding and one charge of entering a restricted area.
He is among at least several Florida residents or former Florida residents accused of participating in the attack.
Harrelson is scheduled for a Monday hearing in Orlando to determine whether the federal government has probable cause to charge him and to decide if he should be detained until his trial.
The federal government charged Harrelson in a criminal complaint filed in Washington, D.C. The document wasn’t immediately available.
Details of Harrelson’s alleged involvement were not revealed in Thursday’s hearing.
A special agent for the FBI and a federal prosecutor appeared for the government at the hearing in the George C. Young Federal Annex Courthouse in downtown Orlando.
Asked about the allegations, Ken A. Barlow, attorney for Harrelson, declined comment.
Roughly 300 people, many supporters of former President Donald Trump, have been charged in the siege at the U.S. Capitol.
Authorities say attackers were trying to overturn the election of Democrat Joe Biden.
Monday’s hearing for Harrelson will have two parts. Kidd will hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to file charges.
“If I find there is probable cause, the case will proceed,” Kidd explained to Harrelson.
The second part is a detention hearing. Under a federal terrorism statute, the burden is placed on defendants to explain why they are not flight risks and threats to the public, Kidd said.
Some suspects in the U.S. Capitol attack have been released under certain conditions pending their trials. Other are still being detained.
Harrelson on Thursday appeared in court wearing a black T-shirt, black-shorts with a gray stripe, and black flip-flops. He had a buzz cut, and he was shackled at his ankles and wrists. He wore a white mask and was flanked by two members of the U.S. Marshals Service.
After answering the judge’s procedural questions with brief yes or no answers, Harrelson was deemed competent to proceed.
Harrelson attended school through the 10th grade and suffers from no physical or mental problems that would interfere with his ability to assist with his defense, according to court testimony.
The hearing lasted roughly 30 minutes.
Harrelson faces three similarly worded but separate charges alleging he aided and abetted the disruption of a government proceeding. The punishments for each carry maximum prison terms of five, 10, and 20 years in federal prison. He is also accused of entering a restricted area. That charge is punishable by up to one year in federal prison.
Thursday’s court action follows a line of Florida and Central Florida connections to the January 6 insurrection.
Joseph Randall Biggs, a self-described organizer of the Proud Boys white supremacist group, was arrested in Florida on January 20 and charged with obstruction of an official proceeding in a restricted building and violent and disorderly conduct. Documents indicate he had lived in Ormond Beach.
Biggs later was released on a $25,000 bond on the condition that he not leave his home until his case continued in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday, a defense lawyer requested pre-trial release from an Orlando jail of a Dunnellon woman linked to the far-right Oath Keepers militia group and charged as a participant in the Capitol insurrection.
Connie Meggs, 59, “remains languishing” in the facility because she is unable to remove her wedding ring and isn’t permitted to fly to Washington, D.C., court proceedings while wearing it, attorney David Anthony Wilson wrote in a Tuesday court filing in which he requested her pre-trial release.
Meggs and husband Kelly Meggs were indicted last month on charges that they helped plan and coordinate the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Kelly Meggs leads the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, according to authorities.
Others charged in the Capitol insurrection include Corinne Lee Montoni, 31, of Lakeland, charged with tampering or destruction of records and documents, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and Steve Omar Maldonado, arrested at Orlando International Airport in February and charged with entering a restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct, and participating in a parade, demonstration or picket on Capitol grounds.
Montoni appeared Tuesday afternoon in Tampa federal court, where she was released on a $25,000 bond.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.