UNITED STATES NEWS

Writer for conservative media outlet surrenders to face Capitol riot charges

Mar 1, 2024, 3:38 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Texas-based writer for a conservative media outlet surrendered to authorities Friday on charges that he joined a mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol more than three years ago.

Steve Baker, who has written articles about the Jan. 6, 2021, riot for Blaze News, faces four misdemeanor counts, including trespassing and disorderly conduct charges. Baker was released from custody after he made his initial court appearance in Dallas on Friday, according to defense attorney William Shipley.

After the riot erupted, Baker entered the Capitol through a broken door and joined the mob at the barricaded doors to the House chamber, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit. Shipley provided The Associated Press with a copy of the affidavit, which wasn’t immediately unsealed.

In another part of the Capitol, the affidavit says, Baker “antagonized” police officers who tried to keep him on the other side of a doorjamb, repeatedly asking, “Are you going to use that (gun) on us?” He remained inside the building for approximately 37 minutes before police led him out of the Capitol, according to the FBI.

Blaze News is part of an online platform that conservative political commentator Glenn Beck founded in 2011 after leaving Fox News. Baker started writing for the media outlet after the Jan. 6 siege. He was working as a freelance journalist on Jan. 6 and later sold videos of the riot to The New York Times and HBO, according to Shipley.

Shipley said all journalists should be concerned about the charges against Baker. The lawyer said the defense will argue that this is a case of selective prosecution and that Baker has been charged because he is a conservative writer.

“Those can get reversed when the politics of the moment change,” he said.

James Lee Bright, another attorney for Baker, said it was “very troubling to see (Baker) in chains being dragged into federal court on these misdemeanors.”

“I have violent felony offenders that are treated better than this on a daily basis,” Bright said. “It is absolutely our intention to fight these charges, until the absolute very end.”

The FBI agent’s affidavit cites several statements that Baker made during and after the riot. After leaving the Capitol, he told a local television station that he was “quite excited to see this going on.”

“Do I approve of what happened today? I approve 100%,” he said, according to the affidavit.

Baker also told the station that approximately 20 to 30 people were inside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office “at the time that I got there.” In a video uploaded to a YouTube channel on Jan. 6, Baker also referred to Pelosi with a sexist expletive.

“The only thing I regret is that I didn’t like steal their computers because God knows what I could’ve found on their computers if I’d done that. But by the time I got into Pelosi’s office, unfortunately there was some damage done,” Baker said, according to the FBI.

In an article posted on the website earlier this week, Blaze Media editor-in-chief Matthew Peterson described the federal government’s treatment of Baker as “outrageous” and said videos show Baker was “clearly present that day as an independent journalist.”

“Government retaliation such as this against journalists contradicts the very idea of a free press, the purpose of our form of government, and what once was the American way of life,” Peterson said.

Baker’s coverage of the Jan. 6 attack included the trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four associates charged with seditious conspiracy for a plot to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 election. Baker covered the trial from a courthouse room reserved for news reporters.

In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Baker posted on social media that the Justice Department informed him that he would be charged with Capitol riot-related crimes.

More than 1,300 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes, including several defendants who identified themselves as journalists. But prosecutors — and judges — have routinely rejected arguments from self-described journalists that the First Amendment protected their conduct on Jan. 6.

Last September, a judge sentenced Infowars host Owen Shroyer to two months behind bars for his role in the riot. Shroyer didn’t enter the Capitol, but he led a march to the building and led rioters in chants near the top of the building’s steps.

Shroyer claimed he attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 as a journalist who intended to cover the event for his Infowars show. He ultimately pleaded guilty to illegally entering a restricted area, a misdemeanor.

____

Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer contributed to this report.

United States News

FILE - Balloons are hoisted to the ceiling in the Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Conve...

Associated Press

When does a presumptive nominee become a nominee? Here’s how Donald Trump will make it official

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday 12:01 AM Nearly 2,500 delegates are gathering in Milwaukee this week for a roll call vote to select a the Republican presidential nominee, formally ending the presidential primary. It will be a moment lacking in suspense: Former President Donald Trump has already been the presumptive nominee for months, having clinched a […]

11 minutes ago

FILE - Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair while addressing delegates during the Republic...

Associated Press

Floor fights, boos and a too-long kiss. How the dramatic and the bizarre define convention history

WASHINGTON (AP) — In 1948, the Republican and Democratic parties did something unthinkable in today’s climate of ferocious political animosity: They not only held their national conventions in the same city, but shared some of the props. Both gathered in Philadelphia, largely because its Municipal Auditorium had already been fitted with the wiring needed for […]

16 minutes ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Associated Press

The RNC’s first day will still focus on the economy. Here’s what to know about Trump’s plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with bold promises about the U.S. economy, but he has sketched out notably few details about how his plans would actually work. The convention’s first day is still expected to focus on the economy even after Saturday’s shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania […]

17 minutes ago

FILE - Wayne LaPierre arrives at court, Jan. 24, 2024, in New York. The second phase of the civil t...

Associated Press

Second phase of NRA civil trial over nonprofit’s spending set to open in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The second phase of the civil trial against the National Rifle Association and its top executives is set to begin Monday in Manhattan, with New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking an independent monitor to oversee the powerful gun rights group. The Democrat also is seeking to ban Wayne LaPierre, the […]

24 minutes ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Asian shares are mixed as China reports its economy grew 4.7% in last quarter

Asian shares began the week trading mixed as China reported that its economy expanded at a slower-than-forecast 4.7% annual pace in the last quarter. Markets seemed to take in stride a shooting at a rally for former President Donald Trumpin Butler, Pennsylvania that is being investigated as an attempted assassination of the presumptive Republican nominee. […]

26 minutes ago

FILE - Chickens stand in their cages at a farm, in Iowa, Nov. 16, 2009. Four more people, all Color...

Associated Press

US health officials confirm four new bird flu cases, in Colorado poultry workers

Four poultry workers in Colorado have been diagnosed with bird flu, health officials confirmed Sunday. The new cases bring the U.S. total to nine since the first human case of the current outbreak was detected in 2022, also in a Colorado poultry worker. Eight of the nine were reported this year. Their illnesses were relatively […]

39 minutes ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Writer for conservative media outlet surrenders to face Capitol riot charges