A federal judge in Washington, D.C., refused to release a former mixed martial arts fighter and New Jersey gym owner accused of storming the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Senior U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth made the ruling Friday after a federal prosecutor described Scott Fairlamb as a violent participant in the Capitol building breach. Fairlamb was also portrayed as a potential danger to the community due to his violent criminal history, which includes several cases of assault.
“I think with his criminal history and the facts in this case, the evidence supports [Fairlamb’s continued detention,]” Lamberth said.
Fairlamb, who can allegedly be seen on video assaulting a police officer during the Capitol breach, was reportedly among the first to storm the building. Fairlamb later harassed a line of police officers outside the building by shouting “Are you an American? Act like fucking one!” while wielding a baton, according to body camera footage.
Authorities identified Fairlamb after multiple people sent tips to the FBI, which led to his arrest in January. He was indicted in February on 12 federal criminal counts but pleaded not guilty on April 13.
Despite the alleged video evidence, Fairlamb’s attorney, Harley Breite, suggested that prosecutors had overblown her client’s actions. She admitted that her client had picked up the baton during the breach but claimed that he “never used it as a weapon” and was instead preventing others from using it.
“It’s puffery, it’s hyperbole … it’s hypermasculinity, some of it is just words. It’s bragging, it’s posture,” Breite said of Fairlamb’s actions. She added that “screaming at police is not illegal. It may not be polite, but it’s not a crime.”
Fairlamb, a former MMA fighter who owns a gym in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, is also the brother of a Secret Service agent who once led Michelle Obama’s security team. However, he has avoided communicating with his brother since his arrest, according to Breite.
Prosecutors also claimed that Fairlamb was an adherent of the far-right QAnon conspiracy movement, citing an Instagram interaction with another user where Fairlamb allegedly wrote, “It’s go time. Q said this word for word.”
Fairlamb’s attorney shrugged off the QAnon accusations, insisting that her client was not a member of any extremist groups but simply a concerned citizen voicing his “concerns for certain political ideologies.”
“To promote a conspiracy theory is not a crime in itself,” Breite told the judge on Friday. “The free flow and expression of ideas, even the most unpopular of ideas, even the most repugnant of ideas, is permissible in this country based upon our Constitution.”