A Virginia man, free on bail after appearing outside a Philadelphia election center with a concealed handgun, was outside the Capitol during the siege by Trump supporters Wednesday and posted video of himself, leading Philadelphia prosecutors to request his bail be revoked.
Macias has said that he did not know that Pennsylvania had changed its law and no longer recognizedVirginia’s concealed carry permits. When police searched LaMotta’s Hummer H2, police said they found an AR-15-style rifle, 160 rounds of ammunition and a samurai sword. Their arrests came as Trump supporters were gathering outside election centers around the country in attempts to challenge the counting process, and Philadelphia prosecutors said Macias’s “intent in traveling to Philadelphia was to interfere with the counting of lawfully cast votes.” They did not elaborate on how they believe he may have tried to do that.
Macias could not be reached for comment Friday. The chairman of Vets for Trump, which Macias has left, told The Washington Post in November he had spoken with Macias and that he had “no intention of violence, no intention of confrontation. … All they wanted to do was scope out terrain.”
A Philadelphia magistrate set Macias’s bail at $750,000 and allowed him to post $75,000 and be released. Macias posted the bail on Nov. 26 and wrote on his webpage that he had raised $160,000. Prosecutors said in a motion they would be seeking more charges against Macias related to election interference.
William J. Brennan, Macias’s lawyer, said he thought the invasion of the Capitol building was “a disgrace. Having said that, I’ve seen no evidence that my client was inside of the building. If he was outside, simply exercising his First Amendment rights, along with tens of thousands of other people, then his bail should not be violated.” He said he had no indication that Macias was an organizer of any of the demonstrations.
On Tuesday, Macias appeared in a Facebook Live video with Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield), a Trump supporter who is running for governor. In the video, Chase introduced Macias as an organizer of the Wednesday rally, along with several other people sitting with her, and Macias said that “the enemy is here, it’s not just at the gate, it’s within, we see it everywhere.”
On Friday, the video was still available on Chase’s Facebook page, although Chase told The Post that Facebook had imposed restrictions on her and that she cannot post or comment for seven days, or post live video for 60 days on her official Senate page. She declined to comment on Macias.
On Wednesday, according to the motion by Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wellbrock, Macias was a scheduled speaker at a “Freedom Rally” near the Capitol. Then “the rioters, organized in part by this defendant, overran the Capitol Police officers,” Wellbrock wrote. “The defendant joined this group of domestic terrorists by breaching the security perimeter and rushing the Capitol.”
On Twitter, Macias posted a video of himself near the steps of the Capitol, interviewing a man who had been inside. Macias did not indicate he had gone into the Capitol, but he was “well within the Capitol security perimeter,” prosecutors said. Macias said twice in the 49-second video that he was part of a peaceful protest. The video was removed Friday afternoon.
“The defendant’s participation in the attempted coup of January 6, 2021," the prosecutors wrote in their motion, "implicates a variety of federal and local crimes ranging from seditious conspiracy to public property unlawful entry. … At a minimum, the defendant violated the conditions of his bail by once again traveling across state lines to interfere with a lawful democratic process. Where he failed in Philadelphia, he temporarily succeeded in the District of Columbia.”