Federal prosecutors submitted photographs to a judge Monday in their bid to keep alleged Jan. 6 Capitol rioter Samuel Lazar behind bars until trial.
The government said it became aware of the photos, originally posted on Facebook, only on Monday. They show Lazar holding firearms at a rally in Lebanon County a year ago.
The government has argued that the 35-year-old Ephrata man arrested in late July is a danger to the community and should be kept in federal custody.
He is accused of pepper spraying law enforcement and encouraging violence on Jan. 6 and has been locked up since he was arrested July 26 at his apartment.
Lazar’s attorney, David Benowitz, argued last Wednesday at a hearing that Lazar was not a threat, noting that his client had been at large for seven months and did nothing wrong during that time.
At the end of Wednesday’s hearing, federal magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather said given the complexity of the issues, she needed to do research and would give her decision whether Lazar should be released or held on Monday.
But on Monday, Benowitz asked for the hearing to be rescheduled, saying he'd just been provided the government’s new evidence.
Though the details of the evidence were not discussed in court, a docket entry Monday afternoon shows a half-dozen photos of Lazar and another man holding and pointing an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun. The photos were posted on Concerned Citizens of Lebanon Pennsylvania, a Facebook community page.
“The defendant’s participation in this rally, which consisted of his holding and aiming firearms on a public street corner, purportedly in Palmyra’s business district, further underscores the defendant’s dangerousness to the community,” the government wrote. “... Given that the posting was made by the Concerned Citizens of Lebanon Pennsylvania, the community took note of the defendant’s actions and its danger.”
The government maintains Lazar is dangerous because of what he is accused of doing on Jan. 6, as well as his past attempts to buy guns illegally (he was barred from buying firearms as a result of a 2004 criminal mischief conviction that carried potential jail time of more than a year).
Prosecutors said Lazar tried to buy a gun in 2010; in 2016, he was convicted of lying on a federal background check form when trying to buy a gun another time.
Lazar’s hearing was rescheduled to Aug. 31.