Eric Munchel, the so-called “zip tie man,” and his mother, Lisa Eisenhart, are charged in the January 6 Capitol riot, with prosecutors alleging they picked up zip ties inside the building and went into the Senate chamber as the crowd chanted “treason.”
The pair were initially in jail but are now released under strict conditions, including being unable to confer with Capitol riot co-defendants — meaning one another.
“Mr. Munchel has not communicated with his mother since January 10, 2021. He would like to call his mother on Mother’s Day,” Munchel’s attorney wrote to the court Thursday.
“Mr. Munchel agrees to refrain from discussing any aspect of the case during a Mother’s Day call with his mother,” his attorney said.
Judge Royce Lamberth approved the request Friday.
Munchel, from Nashville, and Eisenhart, a traveling nurse in Georgia, were taken into custody in January and kept in jail until late March. Both have pleaded not guilty.Two law enforcement officials told CNN in January that Munchel was seen on January 6 in photos and videos that depicted him inside the US Capitol wearing black paramilitary gear and carrying plastic restraints, an item in a holster on his right hip, and a cell phone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward, ostensibly to record events that day. Munchel had been first stopped by law enforcement on January 6 because he was carrying a Taser for self-protection while attending the pro-Trump rally, according to charging documents.
Eisenhart, who also had picked up zip tie-like restraints within the Capitol and wore body armor on January 6, is charged with entering the restricted grounds of the Capitol with a weapon and obstructing the Congress’ certification of the Electoral College, according to the Justice Department. Munchel is charged with the same set of alleged crimes.
Prosecutors had tried to argue both Munchel and Eisenhart could be dangerous if they were released. But the pair’s dangerousness, the court found, was specific to January 6 and the push of thousands of Donald Trump supporters on the day Congress was certifying the then-President’s election loss.
“The presence of the group was critical to their ability to obstruct the vote and to cause danger to the community,” the appeals court wrote. “Without it, Munchel and Eisenhart — two individuals who did not engage in any violence and who were not involved in planning or coordinating the activities — seemingly would have posed little threat.”
This story has been updated with the judge’s ruling.
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