Sword-Packing MAGA Fanatics Busted in Philly Vote Scheme Joined Capitol Riot, Prosecutors Say

  • In Politics
  • 2021-01-14 01:11:43Z
  • By The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty  

Two men who were arrested for allegedly bringing an AR-15 and a samurai sword to a Philadelphia vote-count center in November face a motion to have their bail revoked after prosecutors accused them of participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the nation's Capitol.

Antonio Lamotta and Joshua Macias were first arrested on November 5, after they allegedly drove from Virginia to Philadelphia in a Hummer festooned with a QAnon decal. The men, who allegedly brought a rifle, ammunition, and a sword with them, were vocal proponents of conspiracy theories that falsely claim President-elect Joe Biden cheated to win the election.

They left jail last month after each posted 10 percent of a $750,000 bail.

But prosecutors filed to revoke LaMotta's bail on Tuesday, as the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported. The filing alleged that not only did the pair travel to the deadly Jan. 6 rally, but that Macias even gave a speech as rioters stormed the building.

These Elected Republicans Joined the 'Protest' That Became a Deadly Riot

After the Philadelphia incident, the pair appear to have promptly rejoined their Virginia-based political clique. There, they previously acted as volunteer bodyguards for Amanda Chase, a far-right state senator and gubernatorial candidate, who attended the rally preceding the riot.

The night before the attack on the Capitol, Macias appeared in a Facebook Live video with Chase and the head of the civil war-endorsing militia the Oath Keepers. The video participants boasted of being in D.C. for the Jan. 6 pro-Trump event, and encouraged others to attend.

Though both men attended the events at the Capitol, though there is no evidence either entered the building. Macias previously told The Daily Beast he did not invade the Capitol, pointing to a video of himself dancing to a pro-Trump rap duo outside the building.

Meanwhile, around 5:15 p.m. last Wednesday, after attackers had been pushed from the Capitol, a man who appeared to be Lamotta passed behind a CNN film crew on air, accompanied by members of the Oath Keepers.

Neither Macias nor Lamotta immediately returned a request for comment on Wednesday. Macias's lawyer told the Inquirer that his client's speech was not incitement.

The office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, however, argues that both men participated in the riot, either by trespassing on Capitol grounds or by actions connected to the attack. Macias, who leads the group "Vets for Trump," gave a speech at the event, during which he shouted out his friend "Tony" (ie. Lamotta) on stage.

"With the defendant at his side, [Macias] gave a speech to a crowd inciting a riot," prosecutors' motion to revoke bail for Lamotta reads. "During that speech, the rioters overran the Capitol Police Officers stationed at the door of the Capitol and invaded the building in a manner not seen since the War of 1812."

In his speech, Macias called Vice President Mike Pence a traitor, and called on Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to retain power-a common appeal among militant Trump fans.

"MIKE PENCE IS A BENEDICT ARNOLD," Macias said, according to a transcript in the bail revocation motion. "We believed in you, Vice President. We had hope that you would do what's right for our Constitution. I stood with you on stage, sir. We believed in you. You backstabbed the veterans, backstabbed these patriots. That's why we're here. President Trump, you have the ability to pass, you have the strength sir. The Insurrection Act is now! You have the power sir, and we support you 110%."

Following the speech, Macias and Lamotta "participated in the insurrection at the US Capitol," the bail revocation motion reads. "The defendant and co-defendant are visible in media footage that shows them within the security perimeter on the Capitol Grounds in an area specifically marked 'No Demonstration Permitted.'"

Prosecutors first sought to strip Macias of bail before filing the motion against Lamotta. Macias' lawyer has denied his client joined the historic attack.

"It's not inciting anything; it's expressing an opinion," the attorney, William Brennan told the Inquirer. "He references the vice president. I don't share his opinion, but he has a right to that opinion. It's the bedrock of our freedoms as American citizens…. If you want to look at incendiary speech, look at the president."

As for Lamotta, like so many of the alleged rioters, his own online activities might play into future court appearances. The motion to revoke his bail includes screenshots of his Twitter, where he shared cartoons he drew. Among them was a drawing of a mob chasing an attorney general with pitchforks and shooting at him "the night before election-day."

Another drawing showed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam promising to deliver a supply of edible "fresh dead babies" to a member of a prominent Jewish family, who was drawn with vampire teeth.

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