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Maine man charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot sees first day in court

Testimony reveals Kyle Fitzsimons tried to rally Lebanon, Maine, neighbors on Facebook before heading down to Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — A Maine man who attended the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is pleading not guilty to 11 criminal counts for his participation during the raid.

Six of the 11 counts are felony charges. 

During opening statements, prosecutors said the courtroom would hear testimony from officers reportedly injured by Fitzsimons' actions.

"The evidence on this case will show that over the span of a few minutes Kyle Fitzsimons released a reign of terror ... four separate assaults on law enforcement, one using a dangerous weapon," prosecutors said.

Defense attorney Natasha Taylor Smith said Fitzsimons was mislead by mainstream media and political leaders.

"Where there is smoke, there is fire. Mr. Fitzsimons felt as though he was watching a burning inferno," his attorney said.

The first witness was Metro Police Sgt. Phuson Nguyen, who responded shortly after the deadly attack on the capitol started.

"They tried to hit me with the 2-by-4, and in the process I grabbed it and there was a struggle. ... I didn't notice it at that point, but later that night I noticed my right shoulder was injured," Nguyen said.

Nguyen said he remembers having his gas mask pulled down enough so it no longer protected him before he was hit with pepper spray.

Prosecutors argue it was Fitzsimons who pulled Nguyen's gas mask down, but the defense argues there isn't enough evidence to support that claim.

Regardless, Nguyen said one of the few things he remembers clearly from that day were the two times he was pepper sprayed. He told the court he felt like he was going to die.

"I was thinking of my family at that point before anything else. I was talking to myself: 'Do you want to see your family again? You need to gather yourself.' I gathered myself to break that seal, and with my colleague behind me we made that happen," Nguyen said.

The prosecution offered evidence to Fitzsimons' actions before the attack as well.

Fitzsimons was reportedly upset with the results of the 2020 presidential election in which Joe Biden won, according to those who knew him in Lebanon.    

Deborah Wilson is a town official and moderator for Facebook group Lebanon Maine Truth Seekers who testified as a witness for the prosecution's case.

"Kyle has a human side, but we disagree politically," Wilson said. 

Wilson cited a time when Fitzsimons argued with her at a town council meeting regarding requesting government funding for projects.

"He was pretty angry and believed that I was the one doing wrong," Wilson said.

It was in December 2020 when Fitzsimons emailed Wilson and asked her to post in the Facebook group.

"I've seen the flags. I know there are supporters of Mr. Trump in town. I am also seeing flags that this election was stolen and we are being slow walked towards Chinese ownership by an establishment that is treasonous and all too willing to gaslight the public into believing the theft was somehow the will of the people. Would there be an interest locally in organizing a caravan to Washington DC for the electoral college vote count...?" The post read.

Wilson posted it and was able to recall Fitzsimons voice in the video from Jan 6 played in the courtroom.

The judge for the courtroom noted that witnesses leaving court Tuesday were being harassed outside. They offered increased security and an alternate exit for Wednesday's proceedings.

The trial is scheduled to return Wednesday for a second day, and witnesses slated to testify include a journalist, two more law enforcement officers injured at the attack, and an FBI agent.

The defense is expected to present its case afterward.

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