They say anyone who acts as their own lawyer has a fool for a client. Very true. In fact, the only thing that could possibly be more foolish is hiring Rudy Giuliani.
A fella named Brandon Fellows is finding this out the hard way as he defends himself against felony charges related to former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. Not only that, Fellows is thumbing his nose at the entire proceeding in a way that any lawyer—competent or otherwise—would almost certainly advise against.
For one thing, not only is he showing no remorse, but also he’s openly praising the actions of his fellow insurrectionists, saying Jan. 6 was a “beautiful day” and claiming on the witness stand that “we had to take the election back. It was stolen.”
But it gets worse. Somehow.
Fellows faces a federal felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, along with misdemeanors, in connection with the Capitol attack. He's also accused of smoking marijuana inside a hideaway office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
"I didn't know it was a senator's desk," Fellows said. "It felt very comfy."
Fellows said he believed he was fighting "the corrupt government" on Jan. 6, but he said he didn't take part in violence himself, even if he supported it. Fellows said he believed some violence on Jan. 6 was preferable to more violence down the line.
“It’s the people’s house,” Fellows said. “We had the right to overthrow it.”
Sure you don’t want a lawyer, dude? Anyone? Even Sidney Powell would do a better job than this. Or Barry Zuckerkorn.
At one point during the proceedings, U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden said Fellows, 29, had given up his right to a rebuttal because, as NBC News notes, “when he answered the questions during the government's cross-examination, he offered a running commentary and avoided answering yes-or-no questions.”
Fellows actually appears to have drawn a favorable judge, but he seems determined to squander that clear advantage. McFadden is a Trump appointee who’s frequently been lenient to Jan. 6 defendants, including granting multiple acquittals.
But Fellows—who lived in a school bus before being taken into pretrial detention in June 2021—has already gotten into deep doodleberries with the judge. He was held in contempt of court Tuesday, and sentenced to five months in prison to be served at the conclusion of the trial after the Trump supporter mumbled, “I would expect nothing less from a kangaroo court" as he stepped away from the witness stand.
Of course, given the incendiary comments Fellows has made throughout the trial, it’s unlikely he’ll get a kid-glove treatment if and when he’s convicted.
For instance, toward the end of his opening statement last week, he said, “I truly do like the fact that those senators and congressman were in fear for their lives.”
Fellows—whom Bloomberg described in 2021 as a “former grocery store worker from upstate New York who now makes money cutting trees and repairing chimneys”—also sought to compare his plight with that of Supreme Court Justice Brett “Bart O’Kavanaugh” Kavanaugh.
“I think it’s important to keep in context what was happening in his life that could have brought those emotions out,” Fellows said, referring to Kavanaugh’s emotional response to the sexual assault allegations brought by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “Even if you disagree with [Kavanaugh],” said Fellows, “take into consideration what he was going through. His life was getting threatened, his family was getting threatened, his career was looking terrible. It was looking like maybe it was all done with, and his name was getting tarnished.”
This may seem like a positively banana-pants comparison, but it may be the one area where Fellows actually did his homework. McFadden also cited Kavanaugh when letting rioter Jenny Cudd off with a slap on her insurrectionist wrist in March 2022.
The Washington Post:
A federal judge criticized U.S. prosecutors for seeking jail time for some nonviolent Donald Trump supporters in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach but not for left-wing activists who protested the 2018 Senate confirmation of Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.
Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office for Washington asked the judge to sentence Cudd to 75 days in jail and one year probation. Instead, he imposed two months’ probation and a $5,000 fine, contrasting her case with that of Tighe Barry, an activist with the liberal advocacy group Code Pink.
The judge said that the same prosecutor’s office in 2019 sought 10 days behind bars for Barry, who stood on a chair, held up a poster, and shouted at senators from the back row in one of Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearings in September 2018, and returned to protest three weeks later in violation of a stay-away order.
“The government’s sentencing recommendation here is just so disproportionate to other sentences for people who have engaged in similar conduct,” said McFadden, who added that Barry, a frequent demonstrator with 14 prior arrests, had accidentally knocked a chair into a bystander when Capitol Police arrested him.
Sure, that chair thing sounds exactly the same as storming the Capitol, Trevvy.
Prosecutors also noted that, following the riot, Fellows posted on social media that he was proud of what he did and hoped members of Congress would “live in constant fear.”
Gee, maybe Giuliani actually would have been a better legal representative than Fellows himself. And that’s taking into account that Fellows’ plea deal would have almost certainly included whiskey sour Big Gulps and biweekly conjugal visits to Tijuana for his attorney.
The jury was set to begin its deliberations on Wednesday.
Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.