TRIAD — The ongoing Capitol riots case that includes a Thomasville woman who is a former High Point Police Department officer was the subject of a wide-ranging federal court hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Laura Lee Steele, 52, is one of 17 defendants in the case before Judge Amit Mehta, who held a 2 1/2-hour hearing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington. Topics ranged from whether corruption statutes passed by Congress in cases such as corporate malfeasance can properly be used in the riots case to whether trials should be moved outside the District of Columbia.
Mehta made no decisions Wednesday. He set a status conference for Sept. 16.
Steele, who has been serving house detention at home in Thomasville while awaiting trial, appeared remotely for the court hearing, as most of the defendants did. Some of the defendants were in the courthouse in Washington.
Steele was arrested in February for her role in actions by members of the Oath Keepers militia group who were at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Prosecutors contend the members planned an assault on the building.
Last month, federal prosecutors added charges against Steele of tampering and civil disorder, which were added in an updated indictment. She is accused of burning the clothes she wore to the Capitol after she returned to Thomasville on Jan. 7 and altering, destroying or trying to conceal “documents.” The indictment doesn’t detail what the documents were, but when Steele first was arrested, the information prosecutors released said that she had deleted Facebook posts related to her political views.
The new charges against Steele came in the wake of her brother, Graydon Young, 55, of Florida, pleading guilty in late June to conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Young agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the remaining Oath Keepers cases.
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