DOJ Prosecutors Gave J6 Snitch Secret Plea Deal

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(Ken Silva, Headline USA) Justice Department prosecutors disclosed Monday that they gave a secret plea deal to a Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill rioter who pepper-sprayed police and urged protestors to “take their guns”—citing the man’s cooperation with law enforcement as the reason for his secret, sweetheart deal.

The DOJ’s disclosure came after a coalition of media outlets filed a motion to have records of the defendant, Samuel Lazar, unsealed. Lazar, 37, of Ephrata, Pennsylvania, was arrested in July 2021 on charges that he came to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, dressed in tactical gear and protective goggles, and used chemical spray on officers.

“The press, the public, and presumably even the police victims of Lazar’s violence on January 6 therefore have no idea how or why this January 6 riot participant, deemed just a couple of years ago to be too dangerous to release, is now free,” the media outlets said in a Friday filing.

In its filing on Monday, the DOJ responded to the press outlets’ efforts to have the Lazar case made public. According to prosecutors, Lazar was sentenced to 30-months imprisonment in March, at a hearing held behind closed doors.

The DOJ didn’t oppose to making some of Lazar’s records public, but asked for 30 days to redact certain information in those records—revealing that the defendant apparently snitched on his fellow J6 protestors.

“The parties respectfully request the redacted documents be filed on the (then unsealed) docket,” prosecutors said.

“This is because public dissemination of the information the Defendant supplied could impair or interfere with ongoing investigations and because Defendant named individuals responsible for criminal conduct who may not have been charged.”

The judge overseeing Lazar’s case previously rejected a request from media outlets in May to release any sealed records that may exist.

The case is raising concerns about transparency in the massive Jan. 6 investigation — the largest in Justice Department history. Court hearings and records — including sentencing hearings and plea agreements — are supposed to be open and available to the public and the press unless there’s a compelling need for secrecy.

Lazar was transferred in July from FCI Fort Dix — a federal lockup in New Jersey — to “community confinement” overseen by the Bureau of Prisons, which means he was either in home confinement or a halfway house, according to a prisons system spokesperson.

A social media post from Lazar’s sister that month shows Lazar standing outside waving an American flag with the caption: “Hallelujah Praise God free at last … #walkingfree.”

Secret plea hearings are not unheard of, though the records are often unsealed ahead of sentencing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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