The Lebanon man facing federal charges for his role in the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol asked a Maine judge Thursday that his probable cause and bail hearing be held in Washington, D. C.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Rich III granted that request Thursday at a remote hearing.
Kyle Fitzsimons, 37, is charged with four federal crimes: knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, a misdemeanor; violent entry and disorderly conduct on the U.S. Capitol grounds, a misdemeanor; assault on a federal officer, a felony; and attempting to obstruct law enforcement during a civil disorder, a felony. A civil disorder can be the obstruction of any “federally protected function,” including Congress’ Jan. 6 counting of the electoral votes from November’s election, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court after Fitzsimons’ arrest.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Portland asked that Fitzsimons be held without bail because he was a possible risk to the public and a flight risk.
Fitzsimons’ case will be transferred to Washington, D.C., and he will be moved to a federal detention facility there until a probable cause and bail hearing can be held.
Rich did not say Thursday when Fitzsimons might be transferred.
The former butcher admitted in a newspaper interview and at a meeting of the Lebanon Town Council that he was in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and attended the rally led by former President Donald Trump that preceded the riot at the Capitol.
After that, Fitzsimons went to a parking garage and put on a costume consisting of a butcher’s jacket and an unstrung bow that may have also included a fur pelt, according to the FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Portland.
He told the Rochester Voice, an online newspaper in New Hampshire, that he carried an unstrung bow as a sign of his peaceful intent.
Fitzsimons allegedly twice charged at a line of Metropolitan Police Department officers who managed to fight him off. One struck Fitzsimons on the head with a baton, the affidavit said.
He told the newspaper that he got caught up in the crowd and was pushed forward to the line of police officers in front of the Capitol.
“I was pressed into the front two times [and] the only way out was to get hit by police or pepper sprayed,” he told the paper. “Police in riot gear clubbed me. Then I was pulled out by people on the side.”
Fitzsimons said in the interview that he was bleeding from his head but helped down the steps of the Capitol by some good Samaritans who took him to an ambulance. The wound required six stitches.
The Lebanon man appeared at least twice over the past three years at the State House in Augusta to express his opposition to limitations on gun owners’ rights and a bill that would have supported immigrants.
He was at a hearing before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on April 22, 2019, for example, to oppose a bill that would have allowed family members, police and others to petition judges to take dangerous weapons away from people found to be a danger to themselves and others. That bill was sponsored by then-Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth.
Fitzsimons filled out a one-page sheet of paper opposing the legislation. He wrote: “Rebecca Millet’s (sic) travesty is unconstitutional and make a bully out of ME.”
Millett’s bill failed but a more limited compromise supported by the governor and some gun rights groups passed. It allows police and district attorneys to petition courts to take people’s guns if a mental health professional determines they are dangerous.
Fitzsimons did not testify at a hearing on the compromise legislation.
The year before, he said at a hearing on bill to fund a $390,000 job training and welcome center for immigrants in Lewiston that he had moved to Maine to escape “multi-cultural hell holes” and that lawmakers were doing nothing as immigrants moved to the region and were “killing off yankee New England culture,” according to a press report from the time.
That statement is in stark contrast to what he told the Rochester Voice this year about how he was inspired by the diversity of people he encountered in Washington at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally.
“I saw people of every faith, color and creed,” he said. “There were tons of people who spoke that were from Cuba, Vietnam and China that had fled communism. They were all begging attendees to wake up and understand how corrupt things had become here.”
Fitzsimons has no criminal history, according to the Maine State Bureau of Identification.
However, he is a suspect in the investigation into a suspicious package left outside the Portland Museum of Art on Jan. 23, according to Lt. Robert Martin of the Portland police.
Police last month said the package consisted of feathers surrounding a box. There was also a spray-painted message on the sidewalk reading “BALM.”
Martin said Thursday that Fitzsimons has not been charged in that incident.
Surveillance footage showed a light-colored pickup truck parking near the museum around 11 a.m. that day. A man left the truck and placed the package in the museum’s vestibule, then drove off, police said.
If convicted on federal charges, Fitzsimons faces up to eight years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the most serious charge of assault on an officer.