East Naples Jan. 6 riot suspect’s trial delayed until February

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Christopher Worrell seen using pepper spray at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Credit: WINK News

The trial for an East Naples man accused of targeting police and storming the U.S. Capitol has been delayed until February.

Christopher Worrell was supposed to be in federal court Monday for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. The trial has been delayed until no later than February 2023, as Worrell claims he is physically unfit to stand trial because of medical conditions. The government reluctantly granted Worrell’s request for the postponement.

Worrel is accused of attacking police officers with pepper spray gel during the riot. FBI agents executed a search warrant at his Collier County home and took him into custody in March 2021, just two months after the incident.

The FBI found a can of pepper spray gel at Worrell’s home when they searched it. His defense, however, says that not only did it not belong to him, but the picture taken of him spraying it in Washington D.C. was actually directed at someone else in the crowd, not law enforcement. The FBI says pictures show Worrell wearing a tactical vest and carrying pepper spray at the riot.

Investigators say he’s a member of the Proud Boys and they believe he targeted law enforcement officers with that pepper spray. Worrell’s original attorney said Worrell went to the Capitol at the direction of former President Donald Trump.

Up until April, little had been heard from Worrell because, as a condition of his pre-trial release, he isn’t allowed to talk about his case in public or use the internet, including email. But in April, Worrell was accused of breaking that condition when he made this emotional plea to Collier County commissioners.

“I am Christopher Worrell, political prisoner,” Worrell said. “I’m imploring you and all of my elected officials to act and honor the oaths you have all taken… On March 12, 2021, federal agents raided my residence, deployed flash-bang grenades, parked a SWAT tank at the front of my entrance to my door and held my wife at gunpoint for hours, and I wasn’t even home.”

That was the first and last comment Worrell made in public after he was released from federal custody to home detention last year. With the delay pushing his trial into February, no exact date has been decided upon.

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