Federal prosecutors are now seeking to drop the first case related to the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol as the case against the suspect collapses due to lack of evidence.
NBC News reports that prosecutors told a federal judge on Tuesday that they intend to drop the case against a New York City man, Christopher Kelly, who was accused of having been in the Capitol during the so-called “siege.”
Kelly was arrested on Jan. 20 after the FBI said that it received a tip from a paid confidential informant who told agents that Kelly had posted material on Facebook Messenger about the riot and his plans to be in Washington on the day of the riot. The FBI told prosecutors that the informant said that Kelly also posted a photo taken inside the Capitol.
In the charging documents, the FBI agent said “I believe the messages and image … reflect that Chris Kelly was using this account to inform associates that he had breached the Capitol and was inside.”
The documents also included photos provided by the FBI, which supposedly showed photos of Kelly on the Capitol grounds. However, they did not include any details on whether he had actually entered the building.
“Other riot cases have included data from cellphone service providers indicating that defendants' phones were inside the building,” NBC reported. “This case did not. Nor did it include any photos of Kelly himself inside the Capitol or offer any direct proof that he was among the rioters.”
In a statement on Tuesday, a prosecutor wrote that, “upon reflection of the facts currently known to the government, the government believes dismissal … serves the interest of justice.” Both the government prosecutors and Kelly’s defence counsel “have discussed the merits of the case” ahead of their motion to dismiss.