WASHINGTON — An alleged Proud Boy accused of pepper spraying police during the Capitol riot has asked to be released from custody, saying he has contracted COVID-19 while in the D.C. Jail.
In an appeal filed Thursday asking for his release, Christopher Worrell’s attorney says his client suffers from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is at increased risk of serious complications from the coronavirus.
“The current unsanitary conditions in the D.C. jails place Mr. Worrell in grave danger given his weakened immune system,” attorney Allen H. Orenberg in an emergency appeal to the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Worrell was arrested in March after a tipster identified him to the FBI. He was subsequently identified in a number of photos from the Capitol riot appearing to spray pepper spray at law enforcement.
U.S. District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell denied a motion for Worrell’s release in March, citing, among other factors, his “unapologetic” participation in the Proud Boys, a 2009 arrest on charges he impersonated a police officer and allegations that he threatened the person who turned him in to the FBI.
“While being arrested, defendant commented to the FBI agents that he knew the name of the tipster and state a name, as if seeking confirmation, and further, stated that if he were to find out the name of the Twitter user who exposed his identity online, the FBI ‘would be coming for [him] again,’” Howell wrote.
Worrell is not the first Capitol riot suspect to seek a medical release from prison. Last month, Bruno Cua, a Georgia man charged in the Capitol riot, was released from custody after contracting COVID-19. Alleged Virginia Oath Keeper leader Thomas Caldwell was also released to home detention after his attorney reported he had been confined to a wheelchair since being taken into custody.
Worrell’s attorney says his client has not received his cancer treatment medication since his detention began on March 12. He’s asking for Worrell to be immediately released on home confinement “and any other reasonable conditions necessary to satisfy the court of his appearance at trial and the safety of the community.”
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