A court hearing for a January 6 defendant quickly went off-the-rails Monday after an actor and Oath Keeper tried to reject the United States’ authority over him by claiming “divine” authority.
James Beeks, who played Judas in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” before his arrest last week for his alleged participation in the January 6 riot, prompted the judge to consider sending him to jail after arguing before the court that the federal government had no jurisdiction over him because he had “divine” authority.
“That’s all gobbledygook,” Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court said in response. “Mr. Beeks, you should be quiet unless spoken to.”
According to CNN, Beeks’ outbursts “parroted the Sovereign Citizen movement — a belief that government institutions are fraudulent and thus followers do not have to abide by them — though Beeks told Howell the term ‘Sovereign Citizen’ was an ‘insult’ and an ‘oxymoron.'”
Beeks, who spoke for himself for most of the hearing, had originally said he would not act as his own lawyer since “I cannot represent myself because I am myself.”
Prior to the hearing, The Justice Department was not requesting that Beeks be kept in jail while awaiting trial. That changed, however, after Beeks claimed his “divine” authority.
“A defendant who rejects the jurisdiction of the court…rejects the rule of law,” Howell said, “is typically not released pre-trial,” though the judge eventually released Beeks on GPS monitoring when he finally agreed — after speaking privately with his lawyer — to cooperate.
“I cannot erase from my mind what occurred before this,” Howell said before listing the conditions, which included “no contact with anyone known to be an Oath Keeper.”
“According to court documents, Beeks joined a group of Oath Keepers on January 6 and attempted to break through a line of police officers guarding a hallway to the Senate chamber. Investigators found Beeks after attending two performances of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ where Beeks was starring as Judas,” reports CNN.