In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo insurrections loyal to President Donald Trump confront U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Capitol in Washington. Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric led the first Mainer charged with playing a role in the Jan. 6 to believe the 2020 election was stolen and persuaded him to travel to Washington, D.C., according to a newly filed motion in federal court arguing for his release before trial.

Once in Washington at the Jan. 6 “Save America” rally where Trump spoke, Kyle Fitzsimons “was swept up in the large crowd and behaved in a manner that was completely foreign to his actions before or after January 6th.”

The federal defender for Fitzsimons argued Friday in the motion for the 37-year-old’s release that the Lebanon resident poses no threat to public safety if released from jail before he stands trial. 

Fitzsimons has been held without bail since Feb. 4, when authorities arrested him at his Lebanon home. He was indicted on 10 charges, including rushing at a line of officers, disorderly conduct and assault on a federal officer. 

When a judge denied him bail in April, he rejected Fitzsimon’s contention that a crowd pushed him from behind into a line of police at the Capitol.

“I saw you charge at the officers, you were beat down but then got up and went back at them,” U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey said at the time.

Natasha Taylor-Smith, Fitzsimons’ attorney, argued that he had been “persuaded by the rhetoric” of Trump and the Republican Party that the 2020 election result was fraudulent, prompting him to travel to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and attend a “Save America” rally that later led to the Capitol siege.  

He traveled alone, Taylor-Smith said.

“Mr. Fitzsimons had no prior intent to enter the Capitol building or engage in violence, but the energy of the crowd that day is well-documented, and the mood shifted from one of purported patriotism to agitation,” she said.

Taylor-Smith is arguing for Fitzsimons’ release due to his “minimal” criminal history that includes a drunken driving offense and “no history of substance abuse or mental health issues.” She said he is not a flight risk and poses no threat to the community. 

His mother has offered to open her Titusville, Florida, home to Fitzsimons, who worked as a freelance butcher in York County and has no passport, according to Taylor-Smith.

Following his arrest, prosecutors argued that he should be held without bail in part because of Fitzsimons’ calls to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s office in which he said he wanted to start a war with China and threatened to “give it to her hard” if she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.

In addition, state Rep. Michele Meyer, D-Eliot, said she had previous “tense” encounters with Fitzsimons over gun policy in 2019.

Fitzsimons told lawmakers in 2018 that he had moved to Maine to escape “multicultural hellholes” and that immigrants were “killing off yankee New England culture.” 

Fitzsimons is originally from New York state.

Two other men with Maine connections have been charged in connection to the Capitol riot. 

Gorham resident Nicholas  has been charged with misdemeanors for his role in the Capitol insurrection. A native of Minot who now lives in Georgia has also been charged.

Lia Russell

Lia Russell is a reporter on the city desk for the Bangor Daily News. Send tips to LRussell@bangordailynews.com.