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What is the 1st Amendment magistrate, the far-right group subpoenaed by the January 6 committee?



The commission subpoenaed the First Amendment Magistrate, a group set up in 2020 to recruit veterans and former police officers to provide security at right-wing events.

Lawmakers have also subpoenaed the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, extremist organizations with dozens of members facing criminal charges related to January 6. The panel said these subpoenas could shed light on how pro-Trump groups planned the violence that day.

Here’s what we know about the 1st Amendment Praetor and its ties to January 6.

The group’s name and emblem are reminiscent of ancient Rome and the Praetorian Guard of elite bodyguards and intelligence forces that protected the Roman emperor. Follow an analysis from Pharos, a group at Vassar College studying these historical duplications.
First Amendment magistrate website said the goal is to “defend the Republic and anyone willing to stand up on her behalf to voice their opinion or draw attention to something they’ve found, such as voter fraud.” They do this by providing security at controversial events, including at three pro-Trump rallies in Washington, DC, during the presidential transition.

Like many paramilitary groups, they recruit former US military personnel, retired law enforcement officers, and former members of the intelligence community. Their website says their members must attend monthly training sessions.

The organization did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Wednesday on the subpoena.

To date, no one linked to the First Amendment magistrate has been charged by the Justice Department in connection with the attack on the US Capitol, according to CNN’s analysis of court records.

Who is the group leader?

The group was founded by Robert Patrick Lewis, a former Special Forces soldier who describe yourself as “author … businessman, (and) political investor.”
In a letter to Lewis on the subpoena, the committee cited several of his previous statements about January 6. He said he was coordinating with former Trump adviser Michael Flynn and “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander, who promoted voter fraud schemes prior to the attack.

“Today is the day the real battles begin,” Lewis tweeted at 2:18pm on January 6, after the first wave of riots hit the Capitol, televised live on national television. family.

Hours later, the group’s Twitter account posted: “The cost of Truth is Pain. The greater the Truth, the greater the potential pain.” Protesters were still in the building at the time of this tweet.

Lewis has appeared on QAnon featured online shows and posted his own 10-minute video promoting some of QAnon’s conspiracy theories, according to an inquiry by The Daily Beast. His team provided security at a big QAnon conference was held in Dallas earlier this year.

Lewis did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

How are they tied to January 6?

The group provides security at pro-Trump rallies in november and December 2020 then violence and arrests on the streets of DC. They were also present at a rally on January 5 provocative speech from far-right provocateurs like Alexander and Roger Stone, and conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.
Lewis is a featured speaker at the January 5 event. He referred to the American Revolution in his brief address to the crowd, where he compared the “Stop Theft” movement to George Washington’s surprise attack on the pro-British army after crossed the Delaware River in 1776.

“I’m willing to get up here and go into danger if we need to, if we need to be there, to make sure we don’t give in to this country, and for my children to grow up in a wonderful place,” Lewis said. Communist hell”. “And I need each of you to fight as hard as you can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The official license for the event, approved by the National Park Service, 25 “sheriffs” from Lewis’ organization will be on hand to “help maintain order among the participants.” The license also says these paramilitary guards will be “unarmed” and will “not act as police.”

What does the committee want?

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, subpoenaed Lewis directly on Tuesday. Bipartisan panel run by the Democratic Party, along with two Republicans.

The subpoena requires Lewis to file the documents by December 7. The public version of the letter does not say what specific documents are being requested. The letter refers to the fact that Lewis has previously said that his members wear body cameras while ensuring security.

The subpoena also requires Lewis to appear for closing on December 16. It is unclear how Lewis will respond or whether he will appear to answer the panel’s questions.

The 1st Amendment magistrate provided security at events “amplifying the former President’s disproportionate claim that the election was stolen,” Thompson said in a statement, adding that the group “suggests that violence is imminent” in a Twitter post two days before January 6.

CNN previously reported that the committee asked other witnesses for information about the organization. Many of the organizers and speakers at the January 5 rally, where some First Amendment magistrates provided confidentiality, received subpoenas.

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