The alleged “zip tie guy” photographed carrying plastic restraints while wearing military-style garb during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has pleaded not guilty to a first superseding indictment alleging he and his mother committed additional crimes.
Eric Gavelek Munchel entered the plea Wednesday morning. His mother, Lisa Marie Eisenhart, who is charged along with him, also pleaded not guilty. Attorneys for both defendants said they wished to preserve for the record all of their clients’ constitutional rights.
The superseding indictment filed June 2 alleges eight counts: that Munchel and Eisenhart (1) conspired to obstruct congress; (2) obstructed an official proceeding (by aiding and abetting); (3) entered or remained in a restricted building or grounds with deadly or dangerous weapons (by aiding and abetting) while the Vice-President and the Vice-President Elect were physically present; (4) disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricting building with a dangerous weapons (by aiding and abetting) while Mike Pence and Kamala Harris were present; (5) unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on capitol grounds or building (by aiding and abetting) for carrying a taser in the capitol; (6) entering and remaining in the gallery of congress; (7) disorderly conduct in a capitol building (for “uttering loud, threatening, and abusive language,” among other things); and (8) parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.
As has become the usual procedure during cases connected to the Capitol siege, prosecutors said some discovery had been turned over to the defense, but more was coming.
“There were a large number of tips that were submitted with respect to Mr. Munchel” to the FBI by internet sleuths, a federal prosecutor said. The tipsters figured out the defendants’ identities based on information available online, that prosecutor said, and sent the information to the FBI.
The process of turning over “that discovery is in progress,” the prosecutor said.
Then prosecutors discussed the “larger discovery issue” of the “incredibly vast” amount of evidence in the capitol breach cases generally. Some of that cache “may contain material” that is “relevant” to the Munchels and which the defense deserves to have, prosecutors said — but they added that it would take time to sift through it.
The prosecutor then said the “extraordinary magnitude of evidence that has been collected in these cases” has prevented her from being “able to issue a plea offer as of yet.” The prosecutor proposed putting the cases on hold until late September. Senior U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth agreed to a date of Sept. 20 for a status conference, which is one of the dates prosecutors suggested.
The defense attorneys agreed to waive Munchel’s and Eisenhart’s rights to a speedy trial; the judge agreed that the waiver was in the “interest of justice.”
“I hope we’re getting closer to see[ing] where it’s going to go,” Lambert said of the methodical but necessarily slow pace of the case.
Some capitol siege defendants have entered guilty pleas; the first is due to be sentenced later Wednesday. Neither the prosecution nor the defense has suggested jail time in that case, but the facts are distinctly more advantageous to the defense than the facts in the Munchel and Eisenhart prosecutions.
Read the superseding indictment below:
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