Michael T. van der Veen
, a lawyer who represented then-President Donald Trump
during his second impeachment trial
, is set to return to Washington
soon to defend a man accused of storming the United States
Capitol with members of the extremist Oath Keepers
The Philadelphia-based personal injury
lawyer argued for Trump in the Senate
proceedings after the president was impeached for inciting the deadly insurgency on Jan. 6. Van der Veen filed Monday to represent Jason Dolan, a 44-year-old Wellington, Florida
resident, when he appears in Washington to face four federal charges related to his alleged role in that riot.
According to federal agents, Dolan, who reportedly went by the moniker “Turmoil,” rented a vehicle and traveled to Washington with another defendant, staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, and joined the crowd on the central east steps of the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 and helped form a “stack” of Oath Keepers that forcibly entered the Capitol, according to an indictment returned by a grand jury
Dolan was arrested in Florida on May 27 and ordered released pending his trial by a federal magistrate judge, but the order was delayed after the government indicated that it intended to appeal.
He was one of 16 Oath Keepers indicted as "conspirators" in a plot to obstruct the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, which would have been the final step in confirming Joe Biden
's presidential victory.
Dolan, along with several others, was charged with conspiracy
, entering a restricted building or grounds, obstructing an official proceeding, destroying government property, and aiding and abetting others who did the same.
According to the Palm Beast Post, van der Veen accused prosecutors of overreaching during a hearing via Zoom
on Wednesday, arguing that the indictment indicated Dolan was only inside the Capitol for about 20 minutes, and that Dolan is accused in the indictment of attending only one of the online Oath Keepers meetings to plan efforts to overturn the November presidential election
A request for comment from Van der Veen was not immediately returned.
A detention hearing has been set for Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C.
, and the government has been ordered to file a motion outlining its case for detention by Tuesday.
Judge Amit P. Mehta directed that the US Marshals Service not transport Dolan to the nation's Capitol, where several Capitol defendants facing serious charges are being held pending trial, until the court decides whether to detain Dolan ahead of his own trial.
Dolan could be released under strict supervision, including detention at his home with his wife and 18-year-old daughter, according to US Magistrate Judge William Matthewman of the Southern District of Florida.
“It should be noted at the outset that Defendant is a United States citizen and resident of Palm Beach County, Florida; he is married with an adult child
; he has no prior criminal convictions of any kind; he served in the United States Marine Corps
for 20 years, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant and being Honorably Discharged upon retirement
in 2014; and he has the support of his family as his wife and adult daughter
“The Court is convinced... that the release of Defendant on very strict conditions, as well as the denial of pretrial detention
, is fully consistent with the mandates of the Bail Reform Act and applicable case law, including a very recent decision of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals.”
While noting that the charges were “very serious” and involved participation in a “horrific, wholly unjustified attack
on our U.S. Capitol and upon our institutions of government,” the judge also noted that Dolan is not accused of the same type of violent behavior as others who were detained ahead of trial.
“Defendant's personal involvement appears to be less egregious than many others who personally attacked law enforcement officers, personally damaged property, attempted to locate and injure or kill members of Congress
, or possessed weapons while in the United States Capitol,” Matthewman wrote.
According to the judge, his court "must nonetheless resist the knee-jerk urge to detain, and instead must scrupulously follow the law... applicable case law, and the principles of our U.S. Constitution."
The government claimed that Dolan gave an anonymous interview
to the right-wing conspiracy website Gateway Pundit last month, in which an anonymous person identified as a “Retired Marine” claims that someone opened magnetic Capitol doors from the inside, implying that Capitol Police
wanted the doors
open. (In fact, that set of Capitol doors will open if you hold the bar for a few seconds.)
During the February impeachment trial, Trump's defense team drew bipartisan criticism for its rambling and at times incoherent message. Van der Veen made headlines on several occasions for his role on that team, and following Trump's acquittal, he likened the violent events of Jan. 6 to the impeachment proceedings.