Bail revoked for Capitol rioter accused of leaving obscene voicemail

A judge revoked bail Thursday for Capitol riot defendant Brandon Fellows, who will now be detained as he awaits trial. The ruling came after prosecutors said Fellows left rambling and sometimes obscene voicemails for his pretrial services officer and once called her mother, which left both the officer and her mother feeling nervous.

Fellows, 27, had previously been released on bail while facing a five-count indictment that includes a felony charge of obstruction. He is accused of entering the office of Senator Jeffrey Merkley during the Capitol breach, and was filmed propping his feet on an office desk while wearing a fake orange beard, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors had asked a judge twice to revoke his pretrial release, but the judge had previously denied both requests. On Thursday, Judge Trevor McFadden granted their third request, noting he could no longer give Fellows the benefit of the doubt after his sustained pattern of behavior. 

“I don’t think you’re going to allow us to help you,” McFadden said. 

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Prosecutors say this image was posted on an Instagram account believed to belong to Brandon Fellows, showing him at the Capitol. Department of Justice

Probation officer Kendra Rennie testified Wednesday that Fellows had been “problematic” throughout their contact while he was released on bail. She said he had made sexual innuendos and frequently left her rambling, overly long voicemails. When he was asked to look for work, she said, he applied to Albany’s FBI office, which she took to be sarcastic.

One voicemail he left her on May 19, she said, referenced “the size of his genitalia and the performance of his genitalia.”

Rennie said that later, Fellows called her mother’s phone and asked to speak with Rennie, which she felt was a purposeful form of intimidation.

“It was intimidation. It was frightening. It made me nervous,” she said, and added that she ultimately went to pick up her mother, who felt “very uncomfortable” about the situation.

Brandon Fellows
Fellows, pictured here in a driver license photo included in court documents. Department of Justice

Rennie also said she’d identified a prior incident where Fellows had allegedly harassed a former girlfriend, and instead of listing his own phone number on court records in that case, he provided a number that forwarded to the office of a judge’s wife. A prosecutor argued that Fellows has demonstrated a continuing pattern of doing “whatever he wants when he wants.”

McFadden said that Fellows had been “lackadaisical” about following his conditions of release, and had repeatedly missed his curfew and failed to call in for court-mandated drug testing.

He also said Fellows demonstrated “sustained contempt” for the government, noting that during his initial Zoom hearing, Fellows wore sweatpants and ate breakfast on the call, and in February sent a “vulgar” email where he called an FBI agent “fat necked.” As recently as yesterday, McFadden added, Fellows was smirking and rolling his eyes during the hearing. 

McFadden said that while there was a “mental health component” to Fellows’ behavior, Fellows has brushed off opportunities to obtain mental health treatment, despite the court’s efforts.

“I am not convinced that you’re a danger to the community, but I do think you’re impulsive. I do think you’re headstrong, and you’re kind of gonna do what you’re gonna do,” McFadden said. “I tried really hard to avoid having to lock you up, but after months here, I don’t think I can be at all confident that there’s a condition or combination of conditions that you’ll adhere to.”

Fellows addressed the court during Thursday’s hearing and apologized for being “annoying.”

“I wouldn’t want to deal with me if I were on the opposing side,” he said. 

Prosecutors said Thursday that they’d made Fellows a plea offer, though he has yet to accept. If Fellows pleads guilty to a single felony obstruction charge, prosecutors said they would recommend a sentence of between 15 and 21 months.

Their sentencing recommendation includes an enhancement for interference, prosecutors said. They would also not rule out pursuing an additional sentencing enhancement for terrorism.

Fellows’ defense attorney said they were still waiting to receive some discovery evidence in his case, including police body-worn cameras and personnel files for Capitol Police officers, which she said could potentially be “absolutely integral” to preparing for his defense.

In a news story quoted in the FBI’s criminal complaint, Fellows told a reporter that his Bumble dating profile was “blowing up” after he posted a picture of himself at the Capitol, and that he didn’t expect to get in trouble for the Capitol breach because he saw that other rioters who had made it inside the building were not being arrested. 

“Did I think I was going to get in trouble?” Fellows said. “Uh, no.”