KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 37-year-old Wichita man charged with eight crimes in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will go on trial in four months.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper set the trial for Michael Eckerman to begin Nov. 28, 2022, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Eckerman will be tried along with co-conspirator Kirstyn Niemela, a 33-year-old New Hampshire woman.
On Jan. 6, 2021, Eckerman wore a load-bearing tactical vest and red Trump hat when he allegedly entered the Capitol as part of the violent mob attempting to halt certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, according to a federal criminal complaint.
He posed for a picture in front of a painting of George Washington.
Eckerman was also caught on a Washington D.C. Metropolitan police officer’s body-worn camera yelling at the officer, and surveillance video several minutes later appeared to show him shoving a U.S. Capitol police officer down “a small set of stairs,” allowing the mob to breach a police line.
Someone else sprayed the officer in the face with a fire extinguisher after Eckerman pushed him down the stairs, according to court documents.
Eckerman later pushed his way to the front and yelled at more officers outside the House Chamber.
From there, Eckerman entered the Rayburn Reception Room, where he took the photo with the Washington portrait, before moving toward the back entrance to the House Chamber around the time Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by police as she tried to break in.
Eckerman left the Capitol after Babbitt was shot to death and appeared on video in an interview with Freedom News in which he claimed to be a “patriot” and called the officers protecting the Capitol that day “traitors.”
Eckerman was charged in September 2021 with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; civil disorder; obstruction of an official proceeding; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; entering and remaining on the floor of Congress; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
A pretrial conference is set for Nov. 21, with potential motion hearings scheduled to be heard Sept. 2.
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