Vets for Trump co-founder free on bail despite social posts

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Vets for Trump co-founder arrested after driving a Hummer containing weapons and ammunition to a site where votes were being counted in Philadelphia in November 2020 will remain free to await trial despite violating bail conditions.

A judge at a hearing Friday said that Joshua Macias had violated bail conditions through social media posts made under another name.

Common Pleas Judge Lucretia Clemons said she could have revoked bail but instead chose to warn Macias, 43, of Chesapeake, Virginia, to “stay off social media.”

Prosecutors say Macias and co-defendant Antonio LaMotta planned a mass shooting as the presidential election hung in the balance but were thwarted by an FBI tip about their travels. Macias was charged with carrying a gun on a public street without a license and trying to interfere with the election.

District Attorney Larry Krasner had asked this week that Macias be held in contempt because of video that shows him meeting with top leaders of two-far right extremist groups in Washington the day before the Jan. 6 riot.

“We need to radically reconsider whether Joshua Macias is a midsized fish or a shark. I believe he is a shark,” Krasner said at a news conference Monday.

Defense lawyers William J. Brennan and Alan Tauber, who played videotaped character statements in court Friday from several evangelical pastors and fellow veterans, said Macias was not a danger to anyone. They said he did not enter the U.S. Capitol after attending the rally for Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

“He’s not been charged in any matters related to Jan. 6, he’s never been in trouble before and he poses no danger to the community,” Brennan said.

Both Macias and LaMotta are scheduled for trial in October.

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