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Trump supporter in Jan. 6 case says he was very comfy in senator’s chair

Jul 28, 2023Jul 28, 2023

WASHINGTON — A Donald Trump supporter who continues to believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen told jurors at his trial Tuesday that he "felt very comfy" sitting in a senator's seat during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Brandon Fellows, who has called Jan. 6, 2021, a "beautiful day" and said he liked the fact that senators and members of Congress feared for their lives, is representing himself in a trial that began last week.

"We had to take the election back. It was stolen," Fellows said on the stand Tuesday.

Fellows faces a federal felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, along with misdemeanors, in connection with the Capitol attack. He's also accused of smoking marijuana inside a hideaway office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

"I didn't know it was a senator's desk," Fellows said. "It felt very comfy."

Fellows said he believed he was fighting "the corrupt government" on Jan. 6, but he said he didn't take part in violence himself, even if he supported it. Fellows said he believed some violence on Jan. 6 was preferable to more violence down the line.

“It’s the people’s house,” Fellows said. “We had the right to overthrow it.”

After the jury left the courtroom for a short break Tuesday morning, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden said he believed Fellows had forfeited his right to engage in a rebuttal because, when he answered the questions during the government's cross-examination, he offered a running commentary and avoided answering yes-or-no questions.

"I would expect nothing less from a kangaroo court," Fellows remarked as he came off the witness stand.

McFadden, whom President Donald Trump appointed, has criticized the government's approach to some Jan. 6 cases and has often handed out sentences far below those requested by the government.

The jury finished hearing evidence at midday Tuesday after Fellows’ testimony. Jury instructions took place Tuesday afternoon, followed by closing arguments.

After closing arguments, McFadden held Fellows in criminal contempt of court and sentenced him to five months in prison, to begin after the trial ends.

The jury is scheduled to resume deliberations Wednesday.

About 1,100 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and more than 300 defendants have been sentenced to periods of incarceration. This week, another federal judge will sentence five members of the Proud Boys, four of whom were convicted of seditious conspiracy. The government is seeking sentences of 33 years for two of the defendants — Enrique Tarrio and Joseph Biggs — and sentences of 30 years for Zachary Rehl, 27 years for Ethan Nordean and 20 years for Dominic Pezzola, the sole defendant who wasn't convicted of the top seditious conspiracy charge.

Ryan J. Reilly is a justice reporter for NBC News.