A Muskogee man charged in connection with the violent attempt on Jan. 6 to overturn the results of the presidential election could enter a plea as early as Sept. 7.
Andrew C. Ericson, 24, appeared Friday by videoconference for a status conference for federal misdemeanor charges filed in Washington. Charges include unlawful entry of a restricted building and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Federal prosecutors allege Ericson “livestreamed his presence ... inside the United States House of Representatives Speaker’s Conference Room” during the attack on the U.S. Capitol. He is one of nearly 600 people to date who have been arrested and charged in connection with the deadly riot.
Defense lawyer Kira Anne West had expressed concerns about delays in the government's response to discovery requests for evidence. That changed this week within 48 hours when "this case went from no discovery to everything discovery and a plea offer."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine M. Macey said much of the delay was due to the scope of what may be the largest and most complex investigation ever undertaken by the government. Law enforcers in almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia have executed hundreds of search warrants and followed up on more than 210,000 tips in an investigation that remains ongoing.
More specific to Ericson's case, Macey said the government wanted to fully assess "his conduct, and his presence inside of the Speaker's Conference Room."
"We wanted in that review to make sure we had a full assessment of any sort of statements of intent or things that would be relevant," Macey said about Ericson's alleged conduct inside Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Conference Room. "For him in particular, we thought that it was us doing our due diligence, and unfortunately that did take a while because Mr. Ericson has Apple products."
Macey said those concerns included the potential use of his iPhone for attorney-client communications and the potential of the device synching with a MacBook. That concern was addressed by undergoing a "filter review" to screen any privileged communications.
West concurred, saying Macey was "quite right about the Apple products," the filter review, and the resulting delays. She maintained concerns still exist for defendants eager to resolve their cases without going to trial.
"As a defense lawyer, I have to tell the court, I could never tell a client to plead guilty without first seeing the evidence," West said. "I'm not giving up my status conferences — I'm making a record of that was done in a certain time, and also so that the client understands ... what we're doing to try to resolve these cases."
West said she believes Ericson's case can be wrapped up in the next 30 days. A status conference is scheduled Sept. 7.