WASHINGTON — The chief judge of the D.C. District Court stayed a New York judge’s order releasing a Capitol riot defendant Monday following an emergency request by the Justice Department.
Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell issued a one-page order keeping Cody Mattice, of Hilton, in federal custody while she reviews arguments from the DOJ.
Mattice and his friend, James Mault, of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were arrested earlier this month on felony charges alleging they assaulted police with pepper spray during the January 6 Capitol riot. In charging documents, prosecutors say body camera footage and other publicly available video from the day shows Mattice and Mault tearing down police barricades and then assaulting officers attempting to defend the Capitol tunnel from a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Mattice and Mault were both identified in part thanks to the hard hats they wore to the riot. Mault’s was covered in union stickers, including stickers for his union, Ironworkers Local 33 of Rochester, New York. In an interview with the FBI in January, Mault said he and Mattice had worn the hard hats because they were worried about “antifa attacking Trump supporters” after events in Washington.
Mattice was also identified in part by an officer from the Brockport (New York) Police Department, who was familiar with him from “a traffic stop which resulted in an arrest and a domestic disturbance.”
Although Mault was interviewed early on, the men weren’t arrested and charged until the online group Sedition Hunters identified video of them appearing to assault police with canisters of pepper spray at the entrance to the Capitol tunnel.
Last week, a magistrate judge in North Carolina ordered Mault detained pending trial, but a different judge in New York allowed Mattice to be released.
On Monday, the DOJ filed a motion asking for an emergency stay of that decision. In their motion, prosecutors say Mattice can be seen on video ripping down a police barricade. Minutes later, the DOJ says the police line in the same area was “completely overwhelmed.”
“Officers had retreated, rioters had seized control of the West Plaza, and a crowd of rioters were climbing the stairs to the inauguration stage at the Lower West Terrace,” the DOJ wrote.
Prosecutors says Mattice and Mault then moved to the entrance to the Lower West Terrace tunnel, where they climbed over other members of the mob to reach the opening, before spraying police with chemical irritant.
After Mattice’s arrest on October 7, he allegedly claimed he was not spraying police with pepper spray, but rather that he was “using pepper spray against other rioters to stop them from attacking police officers.” In its motion, the DOJ called that claim “transparently false.”
The FBI also allegedly obtained group chats in which Mault texted Mattice and others a list of items to bring to D.C. on January 6,, including a knife, baton, pepper spray and “asskicking boots.” The FBI says Mattice also bragged in texts that he and Mault “got everyone to push through the police, me and James fought through the police line on the door step of Capitol hill lmao.”
In a message to his mother, Mattice also wrote that “we went there to stop the count and that’s what we did.”
In response, Mattice’s mother wrote, “Exactly right. You didn’t do anything wrong.”
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