A federal judge in Washington is threatening to report two lawyers for possible disciplinary action for delaying the trial of a man jailed on charges of assaulting police officers during January 6, 2021, the attack on the US Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, questioned in court documents filed Thursday whether attorney Joseph McBride was sincere when he said last summer that Christopher Quaglin’s October trial should be pushed forward; McBride claimed he has not yet recovered from a case of COVID-19 he contracted in May 2022, and that he has chronic Lyme disease, and treatment and recovery will take two to three months.
McBride said in his filing that doctors have advised him that he “needs to take an aggressive course of action to eradicate and neutralize this condition.”
But the judge noted that at the same time, McBride — who represents several defendants on Jan. 6 — continued to give interviews to the media and in October he spoke before the Republican District Committee about his fight for “January 6 political prisoners.” In November, McBride tweeted a picture of himself on the beach at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and another photo inside Trump’s 2024 campaign announcement partyMcFadden wrote.
“While attorneys — like all citizens — have the right to speak freely, these public representations by McBride call into question the veracity of his need for a medical continuance due to his inability to represent Quaglin last October,” McFadden wrote.
McFadden ordered McBride — who has since recused himself from Quaglin’s case — and Quaglin’s other attorney, Jonathan Gross, to file a response by April 10 why the judge should not refer them to the court’s appeals board, which investigates complaints against lawyers. The judge scheduled the hearing for April 18.
In response to a reporter’s tweet about the judge’s order, McBride tweeted: “EVERYONE SHOW UP FOR THIS SO WE CAN HEAR THE TRUTH. LET’S GOOOOO!”
McBride recused himself from Quaglin’s case this month — just weeks before the man’s new trial date in April — because McBride said he needed to focus on another Jan. 6 case that will go to trial in late March. McBride told the judge that Gross would take over Quaglin’s case, saying the change would not harm the defendant and that the other attorney “knows Quaglin’s case well.”
However, shortly after taking over the case, Gross told McFadden that he planned to ask for the trial to be postponed again. McFadden wrote that Gross told the judge “he does not practice criminal law and is not competent” to be Quaglin’s lead trial attorney in just a few weeks.
“Quaglin’s attorneys have now repeatedly delayed this trial to the detriment of their client, who remains in custody, and to the inconvenience of his co-defendants and the Government who are seeking a speedy resolution to this matter,” McFadden wrote. “Indeed, the Court doubts that McBride’s original request for a continuance was submitted in good faith.”
McBride said in a text message Friday that he denies the “innuendo” in McFadden’s order about his statements to the court about his medical condition and requests for a continuance. McBride said he would respond to the court and looked forward to “presenting the truth and reaching a favorable resolution.”
McBride also said his client believed the judge had so much personal animus against McBride that Quaglin didn’t think he could get a fair trial.
“As such, Mr. Quaglin asked me to step down and help Mr. Gross take the case — which I did,” McBride wrote.
Gross did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Quaglin is being held in a D.C. jail, where Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and others on the Oversight and Accountability Committee visited on Friday while some conservatives continue to try to portray those indicted on January 6 as “political prisoners”.
As of Jan. 20, 6 of the defendants who were held in DC earlier this month, 17 have been charged with assaulting police officers at the Capitol, according to the blog Just Security, which obtained a recent list from the DC Department of Corrections. Six defendants pleaded guilty to assault, resisting or obstructing police officers, and two were convicted at trial.
A spokesman for the D.C. jail did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request Friday for an updated list of indictees as of Jan. 6 incarcerated there.
Quaglin, of North Brunswick, New Jersey, is accused of attacking several police officers who were trying to protect the Capitol from an angry pro-Trump mob that blocked congressional certification President Joe Biden’s victory.
Authorities say Quaglin attacked the officers with a stolen riot shield and sprayed them with a chemical irritant. He faces charges including assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon.