A federal prosecutor admitted in court papers that three D.C. Metropolitan Police Department undercover officers acted as provocateurs at the northwest steps of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The admission came in a March 24 filing before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras that seeks to keep video footage shot by the officers under court seal.
Prosecutors accused the case defendant—William Pope of Topeka, Kansas—of an “illegitimate” attempt to unmask the video as part of his alleged strategy to try the case in the news media. Pope filed a motion to remove the court seal on Feb. 21.
“The defendant is not entitled to ‘undesignate’ these videos to share them with unlimited third parties,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Moran. “His desire to try his case in the media rather than in a court of law is illegitimate, and the government has met its burden to show the necessity of the protective order.”
Videos long hidden under court seal have become a major topic, especially with prosecutors disclosing in a number of high-profile Jan. 6 cases the involvement of multiple FBI informants.
Pope is seeking to lift the court seal on the undercover video as part of his drive to obtain full access to video evidence held by the government. Pope is representing himself in the criminal case being prosecuted against him. At a hearing on March 3, Judge Contreras seemed sympathetic to Pope’s motion to unmask the videos.
Read more: Prosecutor Admits DC Police Officers Acted as Provocateurs at US Capitol on Jan. 6