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Judge: Iowa conspiracy theorist in D.C. riot may be released

This photo provided by Polk County (Iowa) Jail shows Douglas Jensen.  Authorities have arrested Jensen from Des Moines,
This photo provided by Polk County (Iowa) Jail shows Douglas Jensen. Authorities have arrested Jensen from Des Moines, Iowa, who allegedly took part in the riot at the U.S. Capitol building by supporters of President Donald Trump. Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, that officers assisted the FBI in arresting Jensen on Friday night at his home. (Polk County (Iowa) Jail via AP)

DES MOINES — A right-wing conspiracy theorist from Iowa seen prominently in videos taunting a U.S. Capitol police officer and pursuing him up stairs during the Jan. 6 riot may be released from jail as he awaits federal court hearings in Washington, a judge said.

In an order signed Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Celeste Bremer said Douglas Jensen may be released, but he must remain in jail until Jan. 27 to give federal prosecutors time to appeal her decision.

If there is no appeal, Jensen will be released that day to home confinement in Des Moines and electronic monitoring by probation officers.

Bremer ordered Jensen to avoid contact with anyone associated with the U.S. government and anyone who participated in the riot. He also is barred from accessing the internet from any device including a cell phone, and she ordered probation officers to use monitoring equipment if necessary.

Bremer said Jensen’s involvement in the riot and invasion of the U.S. Capitol is undisputed. She said to keep him in jail she would have had to find no conditions of release that would ensure public safety.

“The court finds that there is an appropriate combination of conditions of release, including a third-party custodian, electronic monitoring, and home detention, along with supervision by the U.S. Probation Office that will reasonably assure the safety of the community and defendant’s appearance,” she wrote.

The judge said Jensen must appear in Washington for any ordered court appearances and must contact that court to arrange for a videoconference arraignment.

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Jensen, 41, appeared in court Tuesday for a detention hearing via video from the Polk County jail in Des Moines. He said little but his federal public defenders asked for his release until his next court hearing.

Assistant Federal Defender Joseph Herrold said Jensen, who was fired from his job after his involvement in the riot became widely known, has been offered another job if he’s released.

A grand jury indicted him on six counts, including obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder, resisting Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, violently entering and remaining in a restricted building, and disorderly conduct.

Assistant U.S. attorney Virginia Bruner argued that Jensen should not be released because he still believes conspiracies advanced by QAnon, the apocalyptic right-wing group that he follows. She said Jensen’s dangerous beliefs “make him a danger locally and on the national level.”

Jensen turned himself in to Des Moines police after seeing video coverage of the attack on the Capitol showing him in a QAnon shirt in the front of a shouting mob.

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