Ex-Army Ranger weaponized military training to aid Capitol rioters, judge says
WARNING: Video contains explicit language
(CNN) — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Capitol rioter and ex-Army Ranger Robert Morss to remain in jail before trial, ruling that he was too dangerous to release and slamming him for using his military training to help organize the mob and eventually breach the Capitol.
This came hours after the Justice Department released new videos of Morss, which the judge said show how he took on an impromptu leadership role in the attack, coordinating with other rioters and instigating clashes with police.
“He is willing to use his training or experience to organize with the rioters on January 6 … thereby making their actions more effective, more forceful and more violent” Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey said. Harvey went on to say that the rioters “appeared disorganized” until Morss, who was “in his element” as a former Army Ranger, began issuing instructions.
According to Pentagon records, Morss was in the Army from 2011 to 2015, and was deployed to Afghanistan three times. He was specialist when he retired from military service.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
After Morss was arrested, Harvey also noted, police found a notebook in his car with a page entitled “Step by Step To Create Hometown Militia.” The plan included a list of supplies, including an assault rifle, and steps such as “battle drills” and “ambush.” The search also uncovered an unconstructed Lego set of the Capitol building and six firearms. Investigators have not found the assault rifle mentioned in Morss’ notebook.
“While Jan 6 may have passed, the fight for Mr. Morss continues,” Harvey said.
The Justice Department also released several videos from Morss’ case Tuesday after CNN and other news outlets sued for access. The footage underscores the judge’s comments about Morss collaborating with other rioters and instigating violent clashes with police officers.
Federal prosecutors identified Morss in the videos with superimposed boxes and arrows.
One police bodycam clip shows Morss speaking other rioters shortly before grabbing a fence and pulling it away from the police line. Another clip shows him handing stolen police shields to other rioters. Another clip shows him entering the Capitol through a broken window.
About one in 10 rioters charged in the Capitol insurrection have ties to the US military.