Army veteran Robert Morss stands outside the United States Capitol during the January 6, 2021 riot (US Department of Justice / FBI)
PITTSBURGH (Tribune News Service) – A federal judge ruled on Friday that a former teacher and ex-Army Ranger charged with 53 counts relating to the Jan.6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and assaults on police would remain in jail in awaiting trial.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, presiding in Washington, DC, has dismissed a petition for the release of Robert Morss, 28, of Glenshaw, Pa.
Morss, a former substitute teacher and veteran in Afghanistan, is charged with several counts, including theft and assault, related to the storming of Capitol Hill and the fight with the police.
In a request for release, he and his attorneys allege he was subjected to ill-treatment in prison and cited his military service, lack of a criminal record, a pending job in the Washington area and an offer of accommodation with a veteran compatriot as the reason for letting him go.
Matt Perna is accused of entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct on the grounds of the United States Capitol, federal prosecutors announced on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.
The US attorney’s office opposed the request, saying Morss acted as a leader on January 6 and repeatedly assaulted police officers trying to protect the Capitol.
“Everyone who was present without permission on Capitol Hill on January 6 contributed to the chaos of that day and the danger posed to law enforcement, the Vice President of the United States, members of Congress and the peaceful transfer of power. “, wrote the American assistant. Attorney Melissa Jackson. “However, Morss directed this effort fiercely and his specific conduct therefore compounded this chaos and danger.”
Jackson also said Morss showed no regrets, citing a speech he wrote that agents found on his iCloud account. The speech is not dated, but Morss called it “should I appeal to a judge what I’m going to say”.
In the speech he wrote: “You ask if I regret my involvement and what happened on the sixth, my answer is (a) an emphatic no.”
He goes on to denounce Congress by declaring: “This Capitol is not at all a temple, it is a theater where diviners and charlatans deprive the American people of their rights. We don’t need Trump anymore. People from all walks of life and from sea to sea have woken up to the long train of abuse this twisted body of government has committed. “
Jackson said the speech “made it quite clear that he was not giving up” on what he did on Jan.6.
She said Morss’ conduct during the riot since shows he’s a threat and should stay locked up.
“In short, Morss braced himself for violence and then repeatedly led the violent mob attacking law enforcement in an attempt to overtake Capitol,” she said. “His actions intrinsically prove that he is a danger to the community as a whole and to law enforcement officers who obstruct his ideological beliefs, whose safety can only be ensured by his detention.”
The judge agreed.
Morss, 28, grew up in Nevada and joined the military at 17, serving three missions in Afghanistan as a Ranger. His family said he won accolades and was honorably released after four years.
After visiting a friend in the Pennsylvania military, he decided to go to Penn State to study history and become a teacher, according to his parents.
He graduated in 2020 and got a replacement job in Shaler District, teaching for about five months.
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