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Accused U.S. Capitol rioter made false medical claims in jail, prosecutors say

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A mob of supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump climb through a window they broke as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors said on Wednesday that an accused participant in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump made false claims about his medical needs while in jail awaiting trial.

That came two weeks after a judge ruled that Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections officials violated the rights of Christopher Worrell, a member of the right-wing Proud Boys, by limiting his access to medical care.

In a court filing, prosecutors said Worrell's claims of neglect and mistreatment "have repeatedly been contradicted" by medical records from his doctors.

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The Justice Department "has repeatedly been unable to sort fact from fiction in reviewing Mr. Worrell's many claims of medical mistreatment, because those claims have often been refuted, or at best unsubstantiated, by the medical notes and records that the government later obtains."

Alex Stavrou, a lawyer for Worrell, said he disputed the Justice Department's characterizations. Stavrou said Worrell had a hand injury that a doctor said required surgery, but the surgery may no longer be necessary.

Worrell, 50, is facing numerous criminal charges for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, including assaulting police and civil disorder. He has pleaded not guilty.

Worrell's lawyer at the time, John Pierce, said in an August court filing that his client had fallen and injured his hand in May but was denied care for months, despite a doctor at a nearby hospital saying he needed surgery.

On Oct. 13, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said jail officials had violated Worrell's civil rights.

Prosecutors said in Wednesday's filing that "new information" had emerged casting doubt on Worrell's claims.

The filing said the hand surgery Worrell has sought was an "elective procedure" and not urgent, citing notes from a doctor who treated Worrell.

"On Oct. 20, 2021, Mr. Worrell canceled his upcoming pinky fracture surgery — which had been scheduled quickly at Mr. Worrell's insistence — to seek a second opinion," prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said medical notes make clear that Worrell has denied experiencing pain and experiences no impairment of function from the injury.

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Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin

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