The federal judge overseeing a case against an Infowars host is questioning prosecutors about their compliance with the Justice Department’s updated media policy, following the request to request an arrest warrant for Owen Shroyer.
Shroyer, host of the daily Infowars talk show The War Room With Owen Shroyer, was charged last week for his alleged involvement in the January 6 U.S. Capitol uprising.
Now U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui is asking prosecutors to elaborate on their reasoning behind the finding that Shroyer was not at the riots as a member of the news media.
“The events of January 6 were an attack on the very foundation of our democracy,” Faruqui wrote in an order from the government on Tuesday Wall Street Journal. “But that doesn’t absolve the Justice Department from following its own guidelines, which are designed to preserve that same democracy.”
The media policy in question went into effect last month and restricts DOJ investigations of journalists.
The federal judge overseeing a case against Infowars presenter Owen Shroyer (pictured) is questioning prosecutors about their compliance with the Justice Department’s updated media policy following their request for a warrant for his arrest.
Shroyer was charged last week for his alleged involvement in the January 6 U.S. Capitol uprising. DOJ files show the talk show host at the event
Faruqui argues that while the prosecution presented sufficient evidence to bring Shroyer to a criminal trial, DOJ officials declined to answer if they adhered to the new media policy.
“The Justice Department seems to think it is the sole enforcer of its rules. That leaves the court wondering who is monitoring the guards,” the judge wrote, questioning their decision.
Prosecutors responded to Faruqui’s order, saying that it was inappropriate for the court to ask how the government’s internal policies and that the “directives in question did not relate to the evidence supporting Mr. Shroyer’.
Faruqui told the DOJ their response “misses the mark,” MSN.com reported.
The judge acknowledged that while the department “reserves the right to do as it pleases with these regulations,” prosecutors in the past “have given such information voluntarily without any demonstrable damage to its deliberation process.”
The Justice Department alleges that circled Shroyer trespassed on trespassing during the Jan. 6 riots while accompanying his boss, Alex Jones, while holding the microphone
However, Shroyer (circled) maintains his innocence, claiming he never had any intentions of violence and was in the Capitol as a journalist covering the event
Faruqui’s injunction comes just a month after Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a new policy restricting the DOJ investigation of journalists.
“A free and independent press is essential to the functioning of our democracy,” Garland argued at the time.
The policy broadly prohibits prosecutors from subpoenaing reporters’ phone and email records.
Garland issued a memo outlining the policy, in part that reads: “The Department of Justice will no longer use mandatory legal processes to obtain information from or data from members of the news media acting in the context of newsgathering activities.”
The policy does not apply when media members are investigated for alleged activities that did not fall within its scope.
The DOJ alleges that Shroyer trespassed and engaged in disorderly conduct on Jan. 6.
US Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui (left) is now asking prosecutors to explain their rationale behind the finding that Shroyer was not at the riot as a member of the news media. He wants evidence that the DOJ did not violate last month’s policy by AG Merrick Garland (right) to limit the DOJ’s investigation of journalists.
Authorities say video footage shows Shroyer marching from the Ellipse to the Capitol shortly before the building was breached, telling the crowd we are marching to the Capitol today because on this historic January 6, 2021, we must let our congressmen and women go. know, and we need to let Mike Pence know they stole the election, we know they stole it, and we’re not going to accept them!’
Shroyer announced on his show last week, “I intend to declare these allegations innocence, because I am.”
He claims that he never had any violent intentions and that he was at the Capitol as a reporter covering the event.
However, Infowars, the media platform that hosts The War Room With Owen Shroyer, has no White House or congressional credentials, the Wall Street Journal reports.
In addition, prosecutors allege that Shroyer’s presence at the riot violated the terms of a deal he signed to avoid criminal charges over a 2019 arrest.
Shroyer was arrested in December 2019 for shouting during a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing. He received a deferred prosecution agreement in that case, agreeing to provide community service and follow certain terms, such as no disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds, according to court documents.
He had not completed any of the required community service hours by Jan. 6, so that agreement was still in effect, authorities said.
Documents compiled by the US Department of Justice allege that Owen Shroyer, of Infowars, entered trespassing and engaged in disorderly conduct on Jan. 6.
Authorities also claim Shroyer was outspoken before Jan. 6 about wanting to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Speaking at Freedom Plaza the day before the uprising, according to court papers, he said, “Americans are ready to fight. We don’t know exactly what that will look like in a few weeks if we can’t stop this certification of the fraudulent elections… we are the new revolution! We’re going to recover and we’re going to save the republic!’
After the uprising, Shroyer also claimed that the various protesters attributed their knowledge of the event to Infowars.
“Most people said they heard about it from Infowars or Infowars listeners,” Shroyer said after the event.
More than 570 people have been charged with federal crimes in the deadly riots that interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory, and nearly 40 people have pleaded guilty to date.
Dozens of people have been accused of attacking law enforcement officials who were trying to protect the Capitol.
The riots left five dead, including Ashli Babbitt who was shot by a Capitol officer, another died of a drug overdose and three died of natural causes.
Nearly 140 officers were injured and four officers responding to the riots committed suicide.
More than 570 people arrested in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot
Dozens of people have been accused of attacking law enforcement officers who tried to protect the Capitol