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‘Irredeemably Insulting’: Indicted Proud Boy Asks Judge to ‘Sever’ Case from Co-Defendants Because of Their Lawyer’s ‘Highly Inappropriate and Prejudicial Statements’

Albert Watkins

Albert Watkins

A Kansas City-area man who was indicted along with several other Proud Boys associates in the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol is asking a federal judge to “sever” his case from his co-defendants. The motion from Christopher Kuehne, a 47-year-old former Marine scout sniper, cites the “highly inappropriate and prejudicial statements” that attorney Albert Watkins made in a Talking Points Memo article on Tuesday.

In case you missed it somehow, Watkins, an attorney for the infamous Jacob Chansley, told TPM that “a lot” of the Capitol siege defendants are “fucking short-bus people.”

“These are people with brain damage, they’re fucking retarded, they’re on the goddamn spectrum,” he said. “But they’re our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our coworkers — they’re part of our country. These aren’t bad people, they don’t have prior criminal history. Fuck, they were subjected to four-plus years of goddamn propaganda the likes of which the world has not seen since fucking Hitler.”

Clockwise, from upper left: Ryan Ashlock, William Chrestman, Louis Enrique Colon, Cory Konold, Felicia Konold, and Christopher Kuehne. (Images via federal court documents.)

Watkins does not just represent Chansley. He’s also an attorney for Arizona siblings Felicia Konold, 27, and Cory Konold, 25, who were indicted in February along with Kuehne, William Chrestman, 47, Ryan Ashlock, 21, and Louis Enrique Colon, 44.

Kuehne’s attorney Marina Medvin has already brought Watkins’ comments to a federal judge’s attention.

Christopher Kuehne moves to sever his case from that of the co-defendants under Rule 14(a) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Mr. Kuehne’s trial rights are prejudiced by the joinder of his case with codefendants who are represented by a counselor who has made highly inappropriate and prejudicial statements that were disseminated by means of public communication, which directly impact and prejudice Mr. Kuehne’s right to a fair trial. Therefore, Mr. Kuehne invokes his right for relief, seeking severance.

Defendant hereby incorporates the points and authorities presented in the corresponding Memorandum in Support of Motion to Sever Defendant.

Medvin, noting Watkins’ comments quickly went viral, added that a joint trial with co-defendants represented by Watkins “poses a serious risk” of jeopardizing Kuehne’s right to a fair trial.

“In this case, a joint trial with co-defendants represented by an attorney who publicly referred to Mr. Kuehne and others arrested for their participation in the January 6 incident as “fucking short-bus,” “fucking retarded,” and “on the goddamn spectrum,” poses a serious risk of compromising Mr. Kuehne’s constitutional right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. Unlike his co-defendants, Mr. Kuehne’s defense strategy does not include self-degradation, nor an insanity plea,” the motion said. “A joint trial also poses a serious risk that the jury will be compromised in making a reliable judgment about the guilt or innocence of Mr. Kuehne after co-defendants’ counsel has demeaned his mental abilities publicly and has previewed how he plans to present his clients’ defense moving forward. A joint jury trial under such conditions for Mr. Kuehne is inherently unfair.”

Medvin called Watkins’ remarks “as shockingly inculpatory as they are irredeemably insulting.”

“Unlike his co-defendants, Mr. Kuehne is not willing to throw in the towel, nor to throw an entire political party under the bus through cheap ‘Nazi’ comparisons,” the motion said.

On Tuesday, Watkins confirmed to Law&Crime that his quotes in the TPM were accurately reported. He claimed that the remarks were prudent and part of a “calibrated move.”

“There is a reason and purpose behind my less than politically correct description of many who participated in the visit to the Capitol on January 6,” Watkins said in an email to Law&Crime. “My long standing pleas for compassion and understanding of those involved in the events of January 6 with mental health issues and disabilities have to date fallen on deaf ears. One charged, insensitive, and vulgar statement and the needed attention is given. We live in a sound bite world. I respectfully suggest the next few days and weeks will demonstrate the prudence of this calibrated move.”

“Less than politically correct” remarks like these have more or less become Watkins’ M.O. (see here, here, and here).

Kuehne faces the following charges:

Conspiracy; Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting; Obstruction of Law Enforcement During Civil Disorder and Aiding and Abetting; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds and Carrying a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds and Carrying a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon

Read the motion below.

[Image via YouTube screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.