A Greenport High School graduate, who had been held in federal custody since March for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., has been released to home supervision.
Christopher John Worrell, 49, of Naples, Fla., who federal prosecutors have alleged is a member of the Proud Boys extremist group, was granted supervised release last week so he can seek medical treatment he said he was not receiving while in jail awaiting trial. Mr. Worrell said he has been treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2007 and also had a hand injury that required surgery. In a court filing Nov. 1, he alleged the federal government had denied him treatment for these issues since his arrest in March.
“Mr. Worrell is still being detained without access to proper medical treatment of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” wrote attorney Alex Stavrou in requesting Mr. Worrell’s release. “As time progresses, Mr. Worrell is experiencing a rapid deterioration to his physical and mental health, and his cancer is spreading.”
Mr. Stavrou added that his client contracted COVID-19 while in custody in April.
Mr. Worrell, who was previously denied bond, had most recently been held at the Washington, D.C. Department of Corrections Central Treatment Facility, along with all other defendants in pretrial custody related to alleged offenses stemming from events of Jan. 6. On Oct. 18, the U.S. Marshals Service performed an unannounced inspection of the facilities there and found the conditions to be acceptable, according to court records. Prior to his time at the jail in Washington, D.C., Mr. Worrell was housed at jails in Florida, Oklahoma and Virginia, his lawyer said in the motion seeking his release.
Last Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth granted Mr. Worrell’s release under the supervision of his girlfriend in Naples, Fla. He is not allowed to use the Internet or correspond with the media and is required to have no contact with others involved in the events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Prosecutors had argued Mr. Worrell was “exaggerating” his health care concerns.
Mr. Worrell has been accused of spraying pepper spray during the riot, likely in the direction of law enforcement guarding the west side of the Capitol, according to a sworn affidavit filed by a member of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The investigator said Mr. Worrell admitted to being at the Capitol that afternoon when interviewed at his home on Jan. 18, but he denied entering the Capitol building or “any other wrongdoing or criminal conduct on his part.”
“He also became agitated when asked about the Proud Boys,” the agent said in the affidavit. “Worrell stated that ‘the Proud Boys were not a racist white supremacist group like the media tries to portray.’ ”
The FBI was made aware of Mr. Worrell’s presence at the Capitol through a tip it received on Jan. 13, court records show. The subsequent investigation including viewing photographs and videos from the riot, including at least nine that were included in court records and appear to show Mr. Worrell participating in the riot.
A series of those photographs show Mr. Worrell, a 1990 graduate of Greenport High School, spraying pepper spray. The FBI agent who interviewed him said other photographs suggest the likely targets of the spraying were law enforcement officers, according to the affidavit.
Other photographs and video images included in the court filing show Mr. Worrell wearing Proud Boys clothing and flashing hand signs associated with white supremacy.