A California man accused of coordinating a group of “armed fighters” to stop the electoral certification of President Joe Biden on Jan. 6 is just a “vanilla kind of guy” who was simply angry at having to wear a mask, his lawyers claimed Tuesday.
Russell Taylor, a 40-year-old from Ladera Ranch, is among six men federally indicted last week on a slew of charges, including conspiracy, for their role in the Capitol riot. Prosecutors allege the group, which contained at least four Three Percenters militia group members, arrived in D.C. armed with weapons, bear spray, and two-way radios in preparation for the siege.
The other indicted members of the group include Alan Hostetter, a 56-year-old former police chief; Erik Scott Warner, 45; Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, 47; Derek Kinnison, 39; and Ronald Mele, 51.
Prosecutors argue Taylor joined a “mob of protesters” to attack law enforcement officers attempting to secure the Capitol—while armed with a knife—and he should be kept in pre-trial detention.
But his defense team had a different theory on Tuesday: the family man simply had too much time on his hands during the coronavirus pandemic and acted out.
“He’s kind of boring, this is probably the most exciting thing that’ll happen in his life,” Taylor’s lawyer, Dyke Huish, said during a Tuesday detention hearing. “Really he’s kind of a vanilla kind of guy—though admittedly he was upset about the masks.”
Huish describing his client as “moderately successful,” and a religious man who doesn’t drink and went to Brigham Young University. He insisted that Taylor’s actions during the insurrection were unique and spurred by his anger over the state-wide lockdown and mask mandate. He denied that Taylor is a militiaman—just that his documented violent actions were misunderstood.
“This was a guy who got mad about the masks and so he got wound up and felt like this was an appropriate thing to do,” Huish said during the hearing.
Evidence collected by federal investigators since February, however, shows a different story.