Fishersville man attempting to negotiate plea deal in Capitol riots case


WASHINGTON — A Fishersville man facing numerous charges of violence in connection with the 2021 Capitol riots entered into negotiations last month with the federal government in an effort to reach a plea deal, according to court records.

Jeffrey McKellop, 56, has been held in jail since his arrest in March 2021.

He is accused of being part of a large crowd that gathered outside the United States Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021, as a joint session of Congress convened to certify the votes of the Electoral College for the 2020 presidential election, which was won by President Joe Biden.

On Nov. 9, McKellop’s attorney, John C. Kiyonaga, informed the government of his client’s interest in a possible plea deal, court documents show. Federal prosecutors extended a plea offer and a counteroffer was made.

The News Leader reached out to Kiyonaga on Tuesday Dec. 20 in an effort to see if negotiations are ongoing or if a deal has been reached. However, Kiyonaga has not commented.

Last month, Kiyonaga filed a motion that made claims of entrapment based on what then President Donald Trump told protesters shortly before rioting broke out. Recently, the Jan. 6 House Committee recommended Trump face criminal charges.

McKellop, who is not accused of breaching the Capitol Building, remains behind bars at the Correctional Treatment Facility while awaiting trial. A jury trial is set for April 18, according to his court file.

A former soldier who spent nine years in the Special Forces, McKellop is accused by federal authorities of donning a helmet, tactical vest, protective eyewear and a gas mask on the day of the riots. He’s suspected of assaulting officers, throwing bottles at police and allegedly picking up a flagpole and striking a police officer in the face, causing a wound. McKellop then reportedly threw the flagpole at the same officer like a spear, documents allege.

He’s facing 17 federal counts.

About 900 suspects have been arrested in connection with the 2021 Capitol riots, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Nearly 100 of those suspects, including McKellop, have been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer. Approximately 140 police officers were assaulted Jan. 6 at the Capitol, including about 80 from the U.S. Capitol Police and about 60 from the Metropolitan Police Department.

Brad Zinn is the cops, courts and breaking news reporter at The News Leader. Have a news tip? Or something that needs investigating? You can email reporter Brad Zinn (he/him) at bzinn@newsleader.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Staunton News Leader: Fishersville man attempting to negotiate plea deal in riot case



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