Former California police chief seeks to defend himself in Jan 6 riot case

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in Washington

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former California police chief linked to a right-wing militia who faces felony charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot on Thursday asked a federal judge hearing his case to allow him to represent himself.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, hearing the request from Alan Hostetter, 56, former police chief in La Habra, CA, said he believed that if defendants represent themselves, "they have a fool for a client."

But the judge said he was "not going to deny" Hostetter the right to represent himself. Lamberth indicated he would grant the motion via written order after receiving an affidavit from Hostetter.

Hostetter told the judge he wanted to expose what he described as "the corruption of this investigation" by the FBI into the Jan. 6 riot. He noted that conservative website "Revolver News" had alleged that FBI informants were embedded in militia groups alleged to have been involved in organizing the riot.

Hostetter is one of six California men associated with the Three Percenters militia charged in June with conspiracy related to the Capitol violence that left five dead.

Founded in 2008, the loosely organized Three Percenters take their name from the idea that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against the British in the 18th century American Revolution.

More than 650 people have been charged with taking part in the attack, an unsuccessful attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory, which Trump falsely claimed was the result of widespread fraud.

Prosecutors alleged in an indictment that Hostetter founded a group in 2020 called the American Phoenix Project that protested restrictions on public gatherings imposed as a public health measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That group became a platform to advocate violence against government leaders, the indictment alleges.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Nick Macfie)