Federal prosecutors on Monday, in what is described as a “rare mistake,” admitted to violating the legal rights of a Capitol riot defendant and asked a judge to dismiss the criminal charges against him.

At issue is the right to a speedy trial for Lucas Denney of Texas, which lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office admit were violated in his case.

A press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ) indicates Denney has been charged and accused of having “grabbed and shoved a police officer” and swinging a “long metal pole” at them, among other things.

He was detained in December without bail but wasn’t transferred to Washington for six weeks. Once there, according to a Politico report, nobody contacted the D.C. court to get a hearing for Denney for over three weeks.

Just last week, a federal judge slammed the Justice Department for “trampling” Denney’s rights.

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Capitol Riot Defendant Had Rights Violated

Capitol riot defendant Lucas Denney had his rights violated under the Speedy Trial Act, according to the court document.

Readers will recall that the right to a speedy and public trial is included in the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

“There was nothing intentional or nefarious about the delay,” the attorneys write.

“It was an isolated incident, unlikely to happen again, and the time frame —while undoubtedly regrettable — is nevertheless not significantly egregious to warrant dismissal with prejudice,” the filing adds.

While they admit to violating Denney’s right to a quick trial and are requesting the charges be dropped, prosecutors are also seeking permission from the judge to refile because of the serious nature of the alleged crimes. 

“Dismissal should be without prejudice,” they note, “because the offense is serious, the error was unintentional, and the delay has not prejudiced Denney.”

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Rights Trampled

News of the Capitol riot defendant’s legal rights being violated comes after a hearing last week in which U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui excoriated the Justice Department for their handling of some of the cases, including Denney’s.

Faruqui suggested the sheer size and scope of the January 6 investigation led to some defendants having their rights “trampled.”

The judge described Denney as being “lost” in the system because the government had “bitten off more than it can chew.”

“I am utterly at a loss,” Faruqui said to Denney during his hearing. “I see a person’s rights that have been trampled.”

Faruqui was formerly a federal prosecutor in the same U.S. Attorney’s Office leading the investigation.

More than 775 people have been charged in the Capitol riot. At least two other defendants according to the Justice Department’s log remain held without bond.

Nicholas James Brockhoff was arrested in May of 2021 and pled not guilty in early September, while Ryan Samsel was arrested on January 30, 2021, but wasn’t indicted until August.