An “out of control” hearing for a suspect in the 6 January US Capitol riot was abruptly cut short after the defendant reportedly unleashed a stream of obscenities over the phone at the court and then hung up.
It was the initial remote appearance before a judge of Landon Copeland of Utah, whom federal investigators say assaulted and toppled police during the violent insurrection on 6 January.
At its crescendo, Mr Copeland screamed at the judge “I’m a vet. You owe this to me. You’ve all f***ed this up.”
Washington-based investigative reporter for NBC Scott MacFarlane live-tweeted the hearing as the defendant continuously disrupted proceedings.
Initially, Mr Copeland reportedly shouted at the courtroom clerk while the call was being established. Things apparently began to go swiftly downhill from there.
“This is getting out of control,” tweeted MacFarlane with the hearing still minutes away as the defendant reportedly yelled at the judge: “Is any of this negotiable? I used to be a free man ... until you locked me up.”
During the hearing for another defendant, Mr Copeland apparently screamed: “I object!” when a defence lawyer criticised Donald Trump.
His phone was silenced, but he interrupted again when a lawyer for another defendant blamed Fox News for alleged radicalisation of the insurrectionists, MacFarlane reported.
It was at this stage that Mr Copeland reportedly screamed: “How long can I postpone this? I’m a vet. You owe this to me. You’ve all f***ed this up. You’re a robot to me. You can’t come get me if I don’t want you to!”
He continued to scream: “F*** all of you. F*** all of you.”
MacFarlane reports that he then warned the judge: “You can’t get me if you want me. You can’t kill me if you want to.”
At this point, the defendant was apparently placed in a “breakout room” on the call and the hearing was paused.
As proceedings resumed, Mr Copeland reportedly screamed “F*** all, y’all”, while arguing with the judge over the case number. MacFarlane reports that attempts to mute him were unsuccessful as he kept unmuting himself.
“Haven’t seen this before,” writes the NBC correspondent. “Defendant just hung up on hearing. His lawyer says ‘Copeland is in distress’. Copeland has screamed vulgarities at judge, complained about the taxes taken from his $15/hour paycheck, and complained about the case number assigned to him.”
Mr Copeland’s attorney acknowledged that his client has previously expressed “amusement” at the charges against him.
Upon reentering the hearing the defendant reportedly told the judge: “I’m not just gonna listen to what you have to say. It doesn’t work that way...”
The court muted him again and he responded by once again hanging up.
A discussion ensued as to whether a competency exam, if ordered, could be conducted in Mr Copeland’s home state of Utah, or if it must happen in Washington, DC.
MacFarlane reported that Mr Copeland appeared “rattled” by pretrial detention.