Lawyers challenge pretrial detention for Rochester man charged in Capitol riot


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Attorneys for the Rochester man charged in the Capitol riots are challenging the pretrial detention order.

On February 10, a judge ruled Dominic Pezzola, the Rochester man with Proud Boys ties facing multiple charges in connection with the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol, will be held behind bars without bond until his trial.

During that detention hearing, the judge ruled Pezzola was to be held without bond prior to trial, due to his potential to engage in additional illegal activities.

The motion filed by his attorneys on Thursday, cites that Pezzola’s years serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and the fact that he’s never been convicted or accused of a crime, is evidence he is not a danger to the community, if placed on “conditional release pending trial.”

MORE | Local attorney weighs in on case of Rochester man charged in Capitol riot

“In assessing the danger posed by defendant’s release it must be noted that defendant is 43 years old and has no criminal record. He has never been convicted of a crime of violence nor has he ever been accused of one. The defendant was in the Marines as a reservist for 6 years and was honorably discharged. Notwithstanding whatever training the defendant has, there is no allegation he ever used those skills in an illegal or improper manner, nor that he used them in anyway other than his military service.”

“Similarly, although the defense concedes there is ample evidence supporting the prosecution’s supposition that defendant was present and participated in the events at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, there is no evidence nor claim that he ever physically harmed any person there.”

During Pezzola’s detention hearing last week, his public defender, Jonathan Zucker, argued for release, saying that Pezzola was misguided by former president Donald Trump. Zucker requested Pezzola be released on personal recognizance or allowed to enter house arrest surveillance.

The request was denied last week, and the attorneys make the same request in Thursday’s motion.

“His inability to support the family while incarcerated has placed them all in desperate financial straits. Pezzola regrets his decision to participate in the events of January 6. He disavows and seeks to sever any relationship and involvement in future activities of the Proud Boys or any similar groups. He simply wishes to be released under reasonable conditions so he can return to work, support his family and return to being a law-abiding citizen. He recognizes that he will at some point have to suffer some punishment for his actions, notwithstanding that they were undertaken with honorable but misguided intentions.”

Pezzola pleaded not guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and restricted buildings or grounds. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Full motion:

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