MAGA Anesthesiologist Hit With Jan. 6 Charges After Ex-Pal Turns Him In
A board-certified cardiothoracic anesthesiologist from Southern California is facing federal charges over his alleged participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot in support of ex-President Donald Trump.
Austin Brendlen Harris, an M.D. who runs a ketamine infusion clinic in Sherman Oaks, was captured on surveillance video inside the building, comparing Capitol police officers to Nazis, according to a federal complaint unsealed Thursday.
Harris, who was wearing a “Lions Not Sheep” cap during the attempted insurrection, was turned in by a “former friend” who spotted a Facebook post of Harris at the scene and reported it to the FBI.
The complaint says Harris shared video on the social media platform that showed him “kneeling beside the woman shot inside,” presumably referring to Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol Police lieutenant trying to stop the mob from breaching a door leading to the lobby of the House of Representatives chamber.
“Thank you all for your concern,” Harris wrote in a follow-up post, which was submitted to the FBI by a second tipster. In it, Harris falsely claimed the violent siege was in fact a “false flag event” carried out by “Antifa dressed up like Trump supporters,” with a goal to bring about “even more oppression of conservatives.”
“I am safe here in DC,” continued Harris, who in 2021 was disciplined by state medical authorities for multiple DUIs and erratic behavior at work.
“Was treating trauma patients at the capitol building.”
Harris also used Parler, the right-wing messaging app, to discuss his plans for Jan. 6, according to the complaint. In one message posted under Harris’ handle, @ARealLifeDoctor, he asked for hotel recommendations, prosecutors say.
“Does anyone know which hotels in DC the Trump supporters will be staying at for the DC rally Jan 6th?” he wrote. “I want to be with the MAGA crowd, not accidentally mixed in with the ‘wrong’ protesters [wink emoji].”
More than 50 percent of the Jan. 6 crowd was made up of white-collar workers, according to one analysis. Harris is the first known anesthesiologist to face charges connected to the riot, but was joined by at least two other M.D.s at the Capitol that day. At least two chiropractors have also been among those picked up on allegations they stormed the Capitol.
Harris does not yet have an attorney listed in court records, and was unable to be reached for comment on Thursday.
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