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Judge decides against gag order in Grider Capitol riot case

Judge decides against gag order in Grider Capitol riot case

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The federal judge presiding over vineyard owner Christopher Grider's case did not impose a gag order during a hearing Tuesday but informally reminded attorneys on both sides about federal rules regarding comments to the media.

Grider, co-owner of Kissing Tree Vineyard in Bruceville-Eddy, remains free on bail and is charged in a seven-count federal indictment for his role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Chris Grider

Grider

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the District of Columbia ordered the parties to be prepared to discuss the possibility of a gag order after Grider's attorney, Brent Mayr, and Michael Sherwin, former U.S. attorney for the D.C. District, appeared on "60 Minutes" last month discussing the case.

While Jackson said she would not be issuing a gag order, she reviewed with Mayr and Assistant U.S. Attorney Candace Wong the rules governing comments to the media about pending cases and cautioned them not to allow their comments to prejudice the proceedings.

The judge denied a motion filed by media outlets including The Washington Post, ABC, CNN and ProPublica to intervene in opposition to the potential gag order since she decided not to impose one.

Mayr, of Houston, declined comment after the 20-minute telephonic hearing Tuesday.

The judge set another hearing in Grider's case for April 16. She intends at that time to consider a motion Mayr filed two weeks ago to dismiss the most serious charge against Grider. No trial date has been set in his case.

Mayr alleges Count 4 of the indictment, which carries a maximum 20-year prison term, fails to state an offense, fails to provide adequate notice of what Grider is charged with and does not ensure that the grand jury has found “sufficient evidence of the necessary elements of the offense.”

Count 4 charges that Grider “attempted to, and did corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede an official proceeding, that is, a proceeding before Congress, by entering and remaining in the United States Capitol without authority and engaging in disorderly and disruptive conduct and destroying federal property.”

He has said he traveled to Washington to support then President Donald Trump. Mayr has said Grider did not force his way into the Capitol but simply walked through an entrance on the west side with hundreds of others that day.

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