A UCLA student who’s been in federal custody for more than a month for his alleged role in the January 6 Capitol assault has been ordered free on bail despite objections from prosecutors, who say an FBI raid on his Costa Mesa home and vehicle uncovered guns, paramilitary equipment, and evidence that he may be plotting further actions.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden ordered Christian Secor, 22, free on $200,000 bond on condition that he remains under house arrest, reports regularly to authorities—who will track him via location monitoring—and that he keeps away from Washington, D.C. Additionally, Secor may not possess firearms or narcotics, and is prohibited from using or applying for a passport, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Prosecutors claim that these measures won’t protect the community from Secor, an alleged white supremacist whose fellow students urged UCLA to expel him last March.
Opposing the defense’s motion for Secor’s release, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Paschall argued that he’d destroyed his cell phone upon returning from D.C., where he was seen sitting in Mike Pence’s Senate chamber chair, had devised plans to evade law enforcement, and was plotting “ultra-secret” future operations with others in California.
An FBI search uncovered a .22 rifle registered to Secor, an unregistered “ghost gun,” three knives, a baton, mace, and body armor plates. Though video footage uncovered in the search showed Secor aiming an assault-style rifle, that weapon still has not been found.
Secor’s lawyer, Brandi Harden, contends that her client—who pleaded not guilty to ten charges including civil disorder, obstructing an official proceeding, entering restricted grounds and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers—has only been arrested once and that he should be set free so that he can bone up for his finals, adding that he “is not a risk of flight.”
Paschall countered that subpoenaed bank records show that in one year Secor received more than $32,000 from a brokerage account, cash deposits, and 29 PayPal accounts. Furthermore, the record from one credit card shows he spent upwards of $3,300 on at least 20 purchases from firearms and military tactical gear dealers between November 2019 and December 2020.
“He is a danger to the continued operation of the federal government, the law enforcement officers dedicated to protecting that government, and to the community at large,” Paschall stated.
Harden claims that Secor wasn’t planning to make trouble when he traveled nearly 3,000 miles to Washington, but that he was lead astray on January 6 by Donald Trump’s speech, which “encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—imminent lawless action at the Capitol.”
At the time of Secor’s arrest, FBI Special Agent Benjamin Elliott wrote in an affidavit, “As a result of Secor and others pushing on the double doors…the doors opened and dozens of additional rioters flooded into the building. The Capitol Police officers were shoved by the crowd, at times trapped between the doors and the crowd, and eventually pushed out of the way of the oncoming mob.”
Harden did not respond to a request to comment from the Times and the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.