House Judiciary Committee Launches Inquiry Into Arrest of January 6 Journalist Steve Baker

On Tuesday, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Matthew Graves, launching an inquiry into the Department of Justice’s recent arrest of journalist Steve Baker related to the events of January 6, 2021. Baker is an investigative journalist who has extensively covered the J6 trials for the Glenn Beck-founded conservative news outlet, Blaze Media. He has been charged with four misdemeanors, including trespassing and disorderly conduct. 

Jordan’s letter highlights “serious concerns” regarding the DOJ’s “selective prosecution” of Baker following his arrest in Dallas on March 1, as well as its commitment to upholding the First Amendment rights of journalists. The letter accuses the DOJ of violating its “mission of equal justice under the law.” Remarks are included from Baker’s attorney, William Shipley, suggesting Baker was threatened with prosecution “for more than two and a half years” while noting charges have not been brought against other journalists present at the Capitol on January 6. 

The letter contrasts the disparate treatment between Baker, who has been critical of the J6 federal investigations and prosecutions, and another journalist present at the Capitol who received a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting and has not been charged for their presence. In the letter, Shipley is quoted saying that the DOJ “is not allowed to decide what press coverage it likes and what press coverage offends it and take prosecutorial action based on those judgments.”

Conditions and treatment of Baker by the FBI in relation to his arrest are being questioned as well. Jordan writes that the department “deviated from practices” during Baker’s initial appearance for the misdemeanor charges when he was subjected to a formal arrest after voluntarily surrendering. The letter details the arrest, saying:

…the FBI fingerprinted, photographed, handcuffed, and placed Mr. Baker in the back of an FBI vehicle, transported him to the courthouse, and brought him before the magistrate judge in a ‘belly chain, box cuffs, and leg shackles.’

Shipley, who is a former federal prosecutor (as well as a RedState columnist), stated that never in his long career with the department had he witnessed: 

…an initial appearance on misdemeanor charges where the defendant was told to report first to the FBI to be fingerprinted and photographed before going to the courthouse.

Shipley condemned Baker’s treatment, saying, “This conduct smacks of harassment and selective treatment for a disfavored criminal defendant.”

Jordan also notes that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit recently admonished the DOJ for improperly using a sentencing enhancement in J6 prosecutions. This issue, an interpretation of a financial crime statute that Jordan alleges is being used to sentence defendants to 20-year prison terms, is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.


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In a statement made on Tuesday, Baker thanked Jordan, writing: 

I want to thank Rep. Jim Jordan for not only recognizing my struggle but also for demanding full transparency in the DOJ’s prosecution of all J6 cases. I’m blessed by the platform I’ve been given, but I intend to use this attention to shine a light on all those who have been unfairly treated by the unprecedented weaponization of the DOJ, their double standards, and the selective prosecution being wielded against J6 defendants.

Jordan has given Graves a 5:00 p.m. deadline on March 26 to produce documents responsive to requests outlined in the letter. 


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