A 72-year-old Florida pastor facing federal criminal charges for his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot took part in a preliminary hearing on Thursday before a judge.
James Cusick Jr., pastor of the Global Outreach Ministries of Melbourne, Florida, faces four misdemeanor charges related to the riot, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. His son Casey Cusick, 35, also a pastor at his father’s church, faces similar charges but did not participate in Thursday’s hearing. One of the their parishioners, David Lesperance, 69, also faces similar charges. Lesperance also did not take part in the hearing.
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According to an FBI affidavit, Lesperance had told investigators that his pastor had attended Trump’s speech before the riot and then went to the Capitol building. An FBI affidavit outlining the case against James Cusick includes photographs reportedly showing him walking inside the Capitol and standing outside Trump’s hotel in Washington the day before. He is the first clergyman known to have been charged in the riot.
Cusick has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on bail. At Thursday’s hearing, a prosecutor told U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss that consolidating the cases of Cusick, his son and Lesperance was under consideration. A further hearing for James Cusick was set for Sept. 28 [Reuters].