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Philadelphia prosecutors have filed a motion seeking to revoke the bail of Joshua Macias, a right-wing activist who has embraced the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, after The Daily Beast reported that he appeared to be violating bail conditions.
A spokesperson from the DA’s office confirmed that The Daily Beast’s reporting informed their decision to seek to revoke bail in a case that began with Macias’ ill-fated trip to the Philadelphia Convention Center on Nov. 5, 2020. He faces election interference and gun charges in connection with that trip.
Prosecutors say Macias was arrested by Philadelphia police while carrying a .40 caliber handgun along with Anthony Lamotta, a fellow member of Vets 4 Trump, who had been carrying a 9mm handgun openly on his hip. Following their arrest, police searched their vehicle—a Hummer H2 the pair drove from Virginia—and found an AR-15 style rifle and ammunition. At least one of the men had a permit to carry, but the permit was not valid in Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia DA’s office alleges that the two intended to interfere with the vote canvass being conducted by the Philadelphia Board of Elections just as Joe Biden was set to claim the state and win the Electoral College. Macias was released on bail on Dec. 5, 2020, but a month later, spoke at the “Freedom Rally” in the park next to the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C, on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the filing, Macias and his co-defendant Lamotta “were involved in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.” There is no evidence either of them entered the Capitol building.
Later that month, prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Macias’ based on his recent conduct. Macias’ bail conditions were increased, including restrictions on posting on social media or attending rallies, but he was not denied bail at the time.
The DA’s office's latest filing cites a number of instances of Macias allegedly breaking those updated bail conditions, including a March 8, 2022 livestream video of the “trucker protest” outside Washington, D.C., that was “seemingly recorded and narrated by Macias.”
“Indeed, Macias’ distinctive voice can be heard throughout, and he self-identifies as “J.M.” roughly six minutes into the video. Thus, not only is Macias posting to social media, but he is posting video of himself attending a rally—both prohibited by his bail conditions—and his thinly veiled effort to conceal himself in the video as “JM” is evidence of his awareness that he is violating the conditions of bail,” the filing reads.
Macias’ pattern of apparent resistance to his bail conditions was first uncovered by Kristofer Goldsmith, an Innovation Lab Senior Fellow at advocacy group Human Rights First, who has been tracking his increasingly radicalized behavior for several years.
As The Daily Beast first reported, citing Goldsmiths' research, Macias was repeatedly active on social media in recent weeks.
“Today’s filing shows the role that everyday Americans can play in working with the systems of justice to hold people accountable for trying to destroy the American Constitution and everything that it stands for,” Goldsmith told The Daily Beast. “Anti-fascism occurs every day in this country, and my team at Sparverius and the Innovation Lab at Human Rights First are just a small part of the active resistance against those who seek to tear down our institutions and replace them with an autocrat.”
Macias’ lawyer, William Brennan, was reached but did not provide comment prior to publication of this story. Attempts to reach Macias personally were not immediately successful.