On Jan. 6, 2021, when prosecutors say James Grant led the first assault on the U.S. Capitol, the North Carolina man wore a baseball cap with an insignia that bore a map of his home state, along with these words: “Drink Local.”
Last month, Grant did just that. Now he’s going back to jail.
On Dec. 7, after a bizarre interaction with Garner police in a restaurant parking lot, the 29-year-old Cary man was charged with driving while impaired. Police say they found an AR-15 rifle and 60 rounds of .233-caliber ammunition in Grant’s car. When police tried to arrest him, according to court records, Grant tried to flee.
“He then dropped to the ground and stated something to the effect of ‘Just kill me now,’’’ according to a filing by his federal prosecutors.
Grant, according to prosecutors, did all of this — and more — while on pretrial release for his role in the Capitol violence. A Dec. 15 superseding indictment charges him with seven crimes, including multiple felonies tied to what the government says were Grant’s battles with police.
In return for his release from custody on the Capitol charges, Grant promised, among other things, that he would not possess a firearm, not drink excessively, and not drink and drive.
“The defendant had an opportunity to respect the government and the court’s trust in his release pending trial, but has apparently made the conscious decision to abuse that privilege,” prosecutors wrote in calling on U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly of Washington to revoke Grant’s release.
On Tuesday, Kelly made it official, ordering that Grant return to federal custody for the duration of his case.
Grant’s attorney, Peter Cooper of Washington, declined comment to the Observer on Thursday.
Grant’s behavior in the Capitol riot was decidedly high profile. Federal prosecutors say he and co-defendant Ryan Samsel of Pennsylvania were the first members of the mob supporting former President Donald Trump to attack the Capitol police line surrounding the building. Their goal: Stop congressional certification of Trump’s electoral defeat to Joe Biden and disrupt the transfer of power.
Grant fought with officers — injuring two — and was later seen inside at least two private Senate offices, documents show. If convicted of the charges — particularly two felony counts of assaulting and injuring officers using a dangerous weapon — Grant likely faces prison.
Grant and Samsel “are among those who used violence to set off a chain of events that involved thousands of rioters invading the U.S. Capitol, injuries, deaths, property damage, havoc, and the delay of the certification of a presidential election,” prosecutors wrote in their filing to the judge.
In North Carolina, Grant also found it difficult to follow the law, prosecutors say. In September, before being charged in connection with the Capitol assault, he was charged with DWI and carrying a concealed weapon. After his arrest on the Capitol charges, he twice tested positive for amphetamines, prosecutors say.
On Dec. 7, Garner police answered a 5 a.m. call for a suicide threat at a local restaurant. The officer pulled into the parking lot while Grant was pulling out. Grant waved down the officer. “They probably called on me,” he said, before explaining his role in the “Jan. 6 incident.”
According to Law & Crime, Cooper argued in court Tuesday that Grant had the rifle and ammunition in his car only to get rid of them so he wouldn’t be violating the terms of his release.
Kelly said he did not find the argument credible.
“Both the alleged facts of the (Capitol) case and this new arrest, and Mr. Grant’s positive tests for amphetamines, present me with what I think is a toxic combination of substance abuse problems, potential mental health problems, repeated access to firearms that pose a very serious threat to the community,” Kelly said, according to Law & Crime.
The defendant’s behavior, according to the judge, “strongly suggest that Mr. Grant is unwilling or unable to abide by his conditions of release.”