WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Matthew Miller from Howard County pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a raft of charges connected to the US Capitol riot, and a judge said he will likely allow Miller to be released from jail if the courts can set up GPS monitoring.
Prosecutors accuse Miller of scaling the Capitol walls and of attacking police with a fire extinguisher. Miller claimed he found the extinguisher on scaffolding on the Capitol grounds and did not bring it from home.READ MORE: Baltimore Now Publicizing Whether People Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Locally Are City Residents Or From Other Areas
Matthew Miller of Howard County pleaded not guilty today to allegations he rioted at the US Capitol and used a fire extinguisher to attack police; judge will release him if pretrial can set up GPS monitoring. @wjz pic.twitter.com/Y9mNoyo2uD
— Mike Hellgren (@HellgrenWJZ) February 16, 2021
His mother, a longtime employee of Howard County schools, wrote a letter to Judge Randolph Moss. She told him, “Mathew is a very understanding and caring person. He loves the company of others and is the first to step up and lend a helping hand to those in need. At the young age of twenty two, it saddens me that my son has been caught up in a situation which could stain his reputation for life. Other than a speeding ticket, Mathew has never been in trouble. Please, your honor, I beg you to consider Mathew’s age, and I hope you will look at my boy and his accomplishments as I stated above. Please factor all this into consideration when determining the outcome.”
She agreed to remove a rifle from her home and “do whatever it takes” so he could be free awaiting trial.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Are Relief Payments Bad For The Economy?
Judge Moss called the riot, “An assault on democracy” but said, “It is my view, with proper conditions, Mr. Miller can safely be released to the community.”
Pretrial services noted the GPS monitoring is a “passive system” and they would not be notified immediately if Miller entered Washington, D.C. in the future.
In court Tuesday, Miller’s lawyer Eduardo Balarezo blamed former President Trump for his client’s alleged actions on January 6th. He did the same thing in a previous interview with CNN.
“You have to understand what the situation was. Matthew was at the rally to protest, to assert his First Amendment rights. He had no motive—no other reason to go and storm the Capitol. The only reason any of those people went to the Capitol to storm it and to do whatever they did there was because Trump demanded it. Trump asked for it, and Trump wanted it. You can’t get away from that,” Balarezo told the network last week.
He also told the judge even if Miller may believe the presidential election was illegitimate, “I don’t think the court should be in the business of policing thought.”
He said, “This was a singular event in American history and a singular event in Mr. Miller‘s life.“
At least nine Marylanders have been charged in connection with the riot. They include:MORE NEWS: Adult Entertainment Resumes In Baltimore Friday Afternoon After City Agrees To Lift COVID Restriction
- Emanuel Jackson, accused of beating officers with a baseball bat
- John Andries accused of violent entry into the Capitol
- Christopher Alberts accused of fleeing officers with a loaded weapon
- Bryan Betancur on probation in Baltimore County and tracked to the Capitol using his GPS monitor
- Andrew Ryan Bennett faces five charges including entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct at the Capitol.
Police have yet to release more information on Elias Costianes, arrested Friday when the FBI raided his home in Baltimore County, according to the agency.