TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Oath Keeper member Jeremy Brown, a retired Green Beret who was once featured on an Army Special Forces recruitment poster, went on trial in Tampa federal court Monday on weapons charges connected to a January 6 related search warrant.
Brown, who has been locked up in the Pinellas County Jail since his arrest last fall, claims the FBI tried to recruit him to infiltrate the Oath Keepers about a month before the riot that is blamed for injuring an estimated 140 people, including five who died.
During an interview from jail, Brown said the government has tried to block what he considers key evidence.
“They want to exclude from the American people and the legal record very specific aspects of my defense because they know what they’ve done,” Brown said. “So they know what they need to exclude.”
He said he especially wants the jury to hear a recorded conversation he had with the FBI in Ybor City in early December 2020.
“It shows that the FBI was attempting to infiltrate a law-abiding American citizen groups,” Brown said. “You have to ask why.”
Brown claims he was targeted by the feds for social media remarks he made that were critical of the Jan. 6 investigation.
Spokespeople for the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office chose not to comment on the case and Brown’s claims.
Polk County resident Ben Pollock marched outside the federal courthouse Monday morning in support of Brown and his son, Jonathan Pollock.
The FBI alleges January 6 video of Jonathan Pollock allegedly shows him assaulting a police officer. The agency is offering a $30,000 reward for information that leads to Pollock’s arrest.
“Of course not. No,” Ben Pollock said when asked if he knows where his son is.
Ben Pollock, whose daughter Olivia Pollock and her cousin Joshua Doolin were arrested on January 6 on related charges, said he was also at the scene of the siege.
Pollock, who said he did not enter the Capitol, claims his son acted in self-defense.
“They were hit with rubber bullets. They sprayed them with [a gas] that stopped them from breathing before they even crossed a barrier,” Ben Pollock said. “So yes, they were attacked, and they were defending themselves.”
Pollock questioned why Brown is on trial.
“Jeremy Brown did nothing,” Pollock said. “Why is he in there?”
Brown is on trial in Tampa on 10 weapons charges connected to two rifles with barrels that are allegedly too short and the two hand grenades found during a search of his Tampa home.
Brown claims the grenades are not his and he said the other charges violate his second amendment right to bear arms.
Brown will be prosecuted in a separate federal trial in Washington on trespassing charges for allegedly going into a restricted area outside the Capitol on Jan. 6th.
“The search warrant [that produced the weapons] wasn’t related to my arrest warrant,” Brown said. “My arrest warrant was only for two counts of misdemeanor trespassing. The search warrant was based on a domestic terrorism investigation.”
Brown claims the Oath Keepers were at the Capitol to provide security for the rally before the melee and did not plan or instigate the violence. He said he told others not to go in the building.
“[Oath Keepers] went in after it started. So then how could they have planned the whole thing?” Brown said. “Especially when [I was staying with my] protectee and told them don’t go in there. That’s not your job. That’s not what you’re here to do.”
Jury selection started Monday morning for the trial that is expected to last several weeks. The Washington trial will be scheduled after the Tampa case concludes.