Attorneys representing journalist Stephen Baker, who faces prosecution for his presence at the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, are now confronting federal prosecutors.
They allege that the Department of Justice (DOJ) might be retaliating against Baker for his recent investigative reporting, which includes scrutinizing potential perjury by Capitol Police and exploring the Jan. 6 pipe bombs incident.
Baker’s team alleges DOJ retaliation for his reporting, threatens press freedom
Baker, formerly an independent journalist, currently writes for Blaze Media.
Baker’s legal team, comprising six volunteer attorneys, released a statement on January 22, indicating a belief that the DOJ is seeking to impose more severe charges as a form of retribution.
“We now have information that Steve’s reporting has so agitated officials in multiple federal agencies that an effort is now underway to find a basis to charge Steve with more serious crimes,” the statement read.
The team, including former federal prosecutors James Lee Bright and Brad Geyer, argues that any aggressive legal action would represent retaliation against a journalist exercising his First Amendment rights.
Baker stands firm against indictment, questions DOJ’s trial venue choice
Baker has maintained that any indictment following three years of non-action would be a direct consequence of his investigative journalism.
“I will not be intimidated. I will continue to report the findings of my investigation,” he stated.
His attorneys challenge the DOJ to try any case against Baker in North Carolina, where he resides, or in Texas, where Blaze Media is headquartered.
They question the DOJ’s preference for a trial in the District of Columbia, implying a bias against fair trial possibilities in other jurisdictions.
Baker’s investigative reporting challenges official narrative of Jan. 6 events
Baker’s recent coverage has been pivotal, revealing that an undercover U.S. Capitol Police officer, not a mere passerby, discovered one of the Jan. 6 pipe bombs.
His series of stories since October 2023 has questioned the veracity of testimonies by Capitol Police officers at the Oath Keepers trial in 2022, based on his review of security footage.
His attorney, Mr. Geyer, argues that this reporting could invalidate the Oath Keepers’ convictions.
Baker’s Capitol riot coverage draws major attention and FBI scrutiny
Baker was among many journalists covering the Capitol riot. His footage from the event was featured in an HBO film and used by major news outlets, including The New York Times and The Epoch Times.
Despite this recognition, Baker has been under scrutiny by the FBI since July 2021 and has cooperated with their investigations.
He was initially considered for interstate racketeering charges for monetizing his Jan. 6 video.
Baker’s journalism provokes DOJ, testing press freedom and legal boundaries
Baker’s investigative reporting has reportedly irked high-level DOJ officials, leading to a subpoena for his Jan. 6 footage and warnings about imminent arrest.
While an arrest plan was delayed, Baker and his legal team remain vigilant against what they perceive as retaliatory actions by the DOJ.
This situation highlights a complex interplay between press freedom, legal justice, and the potential for government overreach.
As Baker continues his reporting amidst legal uncertainties, the outcome of this case could have significant implications for journalistic rights and the interpretation of First Amendment protections.