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Prosecutors offer plea bargain to Jan. 6 riot suspect on pre-trial detention

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A Freedom Ride for Voting Rights 2021 bus is seen in front of the U.S. Capitol building before the start of a rally in support of District of Columbia (DC) statehood and voting rights on the National Mall in Washington, DC, U.S. June 26, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

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WASHINGTON, July 30 (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors have offered a plea bargain to a defendant facing felony charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot who worked at a security guard at a U.S. Navy base, a judge was told on Friday.

Without providing details, prosecutor Katharine Fifield told U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden that a plea offer had been extended to Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, a 35-year-old resident of Colt's Neck, New Jersey who worked at a Naval Weapons Station as a private security guard and also served in the National Guard for around 11 years.

He has been in pre-trial detention since March.

Defense lawyer Jonathan Crisp said he had not had an opportunity to discuss the plea offer with his client. The judge set a tentative trial date for Nov. 9, although prosecutors said they did not believe disclosure to the defendant of voluminous riot-related evidence would be completed by then.

Earlier this month, the Washington, D.C., federal appeals court rejected a defense request that Hale-Cusanelli be released on bail. It cited Naval Criminal Investigative Service reports that 34 of Hale-Cusanelli’s co-workers described him "as having extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities, and women."

The court said Hale declared that babies born with disabilities should be shot, that "Hitler should have finished the job" and that co-workers said Hale-Cusanelli had reported to work with a "Hitler moustache."

In another riot-related hearing, Federal Judge Reggie Walton ordered a mental health assessment of Daniel Goodwyn, a San Francisco-based web developer described in an FBI affidavit as "self-proclaimed member of the Proud Boys" militia group.

Goodwyn expressed unwillingness to wearing a mask when officials visited him to verify his pre-trial release compliance. The judge said he would issue an arrest warrant if Goodwyn refused to wear a mask.

More than 500 people face charges arising from the riot in which supporters of former then-President Donald Trump sought to block Congress from formally certifying now-President Joe Biden's election victory.

Reporting By Mark Hosenball Editing by Alistair Bell
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