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Meet The J6 Defendant Standing Up Against A DOJ Bent On Collecting Heads 

two men attending the rally at the captiol on Jan. 6
Image CreditPhoto courtesy of Stewart Parks

‘It was almost like an open show of my arrest all the way down the street,’ he said. That was the point.

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Stewart Parks has been marked by the left as an “insurrectionist” for, among other things, being in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.  

The 31-year-old Nashville man faces eight months in federal prison. He was sentenced last month by an Obama-appointed U.S. district court judge, who, according to Parks, helped the prosecution work out its case against him during the trial.  

It could have been worse. Parks will avoid a multi-year prison term by serving his sentences concurrently. He’s supposed to turn himself in sometime in February. A surrender date has not been finalized. 

Parks is appealing the five misdemeanor convictions against him. He says he’s no insurrectionist and he’s prepared to exhaust his legal remedies to prove it. The real-estate professional with no prior criminal record asserts the government is collecting heads to send a clear message that some political protests won’t be tolerated.  

“If you think about it, my house was raided and I was arrested on June 3, 2021, so I’ve been on a form of probation since that day,” Parks said in a recent interview on “The Vicki McKenna Show.” “I could have had four or five years if they had done it consecutively. These punishments are just way too harsh for a crime that wasn’t committed.”  

‘Peacefully Present’  

There’s no doubt Parks was at the U.S. Capitol — along with thousands of others — on Jan. 6, 2021. He was there to protest what he believes was a rigged election — stolen from Republican President Donald Trump for Democrat Joe Biden. Trump declared as much. So did a lot of attorneys, politicians, and so-called “election deniers” across the country. 

Parks recalls the day as “festive,” the grounds filled with families, the kind of people “you would invite to your wedding.” He was joined by demonstrators from all walks of life: lawyers, doctors, politicians, blue-collar workers. They were “peacefully present … to attend a peaceful event.”  

Parks said the protests where he and others entered the Capitol appeared mostly peaceful. It was a different story elsewhere on the grounds, where rioters were turning the election demonstration violent.  

Parks said cellular service was slow, so many of the protesters had no idea that the demonstrations had been canceled. He said he followed the crowds to the Capitol.  

“When we go there, the police had their hands in their pockets. They weren’t scared, they weren’t showing any signs of trembling or showing any signs of stopping [us],” he recalled. “There was no point on Jan. 6 where the police said, ‘No, get out, you don’t belong here.’” 

Parks’ accounts certainly differ from the testimony of law enforcement and the politically driven congressional committee that looked into the events of Jan. 6, 2021. The committee has pushed a narrative of an organized right-wing conspiracy to defy the results of the 2020 election and overthrow the government. In short, an insurrection.   

Parks attended the protest with his friend Matthew Baggott of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Baggot was originally charged alongside Parks. In the summer of 2022, Baggott took a plea deal and was sentenced to three months in prison, one year of supervised release, 60 hours of community service, and an order to pay $500 in restitution. 

Federal prosecutors argued Baggott acted aggressively as he, Parks, and several others “stormed the Capitol building.”  

Parks, like Baggott, was charged with entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing within any of the Capitol buildings. 

Parks also was charged with theft of government property, for picking up a metal detector wand and walking around with it for a while. 

According to the criminal complaint, an unidentified (the name is redacted) special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Memphis Field Office investigated Parks. The agent was — and may still be — assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force that investigates domestic and international terrorism acts. An official with the Memphis Field Office did not return a call seeking comment. Much of the evidence in the case was brought by “several” unidentified witnesses who observed posts on Parks’ Instagram account. 

“Video surveillance footage from inside the Capitol building shows PARKS and BAGGOTT entering the Capitol building at approximately 2:13 p.m. on January 6, 2021. PARKS and BAGGOTT move throughout the Capitol building for approximately a half hour, until approximately 2:46 p.m. when they exited the building. During that time, PARKS and BAGGOTT generally remain together, with PARKS carrying yellow Gadsden flag, often with PARKS holding onto BAGGOTT’s backpack…” the complaint states. 

But Parks, like many others at the Capitol that day, claims police let him in.

‘Working with the Prosecutors’ 

D.C. Circuit Court Judge Amit P. Mehta, who has presided over several trials related to the J6 Capitol riots, didn’t care for Parks’ version of the day, particularly his claims of his peaceful involvement.  

“He was so angry, his countenance changed during my testimony,” Parks said, “and then, when he handed me my verdict, screamed, berated, and then stormed out of the courtroom at the end of my bench trial.”  

Parks claims Mehta was “working with the prosecutors,” helping them when they bungled through parts of their case. 

“He colluded, he coached, he blatantly sided and was open-armed with the prosecution,” he told The Star News Network, calling his bench trial a completely one-sided affair. 

An official with Mehta’s office said the judge does not comment on cases before him.  

Parks’ attorney, public defender John Machado, declined to comment for the record. 

Prosecutors particularly pressed claims that Parks stole the metal detector wand while he was in the Capitol. They accused him of having no respect for law enforcement.   

The complaint states that at approximately 2:45 p.m. that day, “Parks picks up a hand-held metal detector wand from a table and then puts it back. Approximately 20 seconds later, as more people are exiting the building, PARKS picks the wand up again and exits with it.” 

But Parks said he didn’t steal the wand. He left it in the Capitol. Prosecutors acknowledge that the wand was not missing. Yet, they tried to make Parks pay for a metal detector that was not stolen. The judge ruled in Parks’ favor on that count.  

CBS congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane covered Parks’ bench trial in May, when Mehta dressed down the defendant before pronouncing him guilty.  

“Of all the hearings I’ve covered and all the January 6th cases I’ve covered, I have rarely, if ever, heard a judge more forceful and frank in his denunciations of what a defendant had argued and what a defendant had said,” McFarlane said of Mehta’s scolding of Parks.  

“At one point the judge says, ‘I don’t know if you take me for a fool,’ and then said, ‘You cannot be serious,’ and said, ‘It’s charitable to say your testimony is not credible, if not a complete fabrication,’” the Capitol Hill reporter wrote.

‘They’re Kicking Down My Front Door’ 

What MacFarlane didn’t note, among other things, is the FBI’s raid on Parks’ home and how, Parks says, the FBI made a parade of his arrest.  

Just before 6 a.m. on June 3, 2021, Parks was asleep when the FBI came calling. Agents, he said, were screaming through the front door, banging on the house, yelling, “FBI! Come out with your hands up!” Parks, who wears hearing aids, didn’t have the electronic devices in at the time and didn’t hear all of the commotion.  

“All of a sudden, I hear glass flying and they’re kicking down my front door,” he said. “By the time I get up and out of bed they’re in the living room and they’re screaming into my bedroom.”  

Agents ordered him to stick his hands out the bedroom door. Parks said he complied, slowly, making sure not to make any sudden movements. The federal law enforcement officials grabbed him and ordered him to put his hands on the wall before handcuffing him. Parks said he was wearing only his shorts and underwear when they paraded him through the front door.  

“By then, my neighbors, everybody’s out in the front yard wondering what’s going on,” he recalled.  

He said he was taken to an unmarked black jeep with tinted windows. He looked down the street and, as far as he could see, saw unmarked vehicles and squad cars of local police officers.  

“It was almost like an open show of my arrest all the way down the street,” he said.  

That was the point, critics of the sweeping arrests argue. 

FBI Special Agent Steven Friend risked his badge and gun in filing a whistleblower complaint about the agency’s investigations into J6 suspects. The five-year veteran of the FBI was suspended after he refused to be part of a SWAT squad charged with arresting a J6 suspect. In his complaint, Friend wrote that “the investigations were inconsistent with FBI procedure and resulted in the violation of citizens’ Sixth and Eight Amendment rights.” The former FBI agent is the author of the book, True Blue: My Journey from Beat Cop to FBI Whistleblower.  

I Am Not an Insurrectionist  

Leftists have used the riots of Jan. 6, 2021, as a political cudgel against conservatives, particularly Trump, their public enemy No. 1.  

Democrats in the House led nationally televised hearings on what they described as an assault on democracy, nothing short of a coup. But as Reuters reported a year after the protests, the FBI found scant evidence that the disorder at the U.S. Capitol was the result of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election result. 

“Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” a former senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told the news organization. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.” 

That’s not to say things didn’t turn violent. Approximately 140 police officers were reportedly injured. An officer died from a stroke the day after Jan. 6. Unarmed Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot inside the Capitol by a Capitol Hill police officer who was never indicted, and two protesters died from heart attacks. 

As of November, Biden’s Department of Justice reported that at least 1,237 defendants had been charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest. Of those, the DOJ said 1,160 defendants have been charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds, including 114 charged with possessing a dangerous or deadly weapon in a restricted area.  

“Approximately 714 individuals have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, many of whom faced or will face incarceration at sentencing,” DOJ boasted in its latest report.  

Parks isn’t one of those bargaining for a deal with the government.  

Earlier this year, the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections reported 20 people locked in the city’s jail awaiting a trial on charges related to the riot, according to documents obtained by Just Security.  

As he awaited trial, Parks ran for Congress in no small part on a message of big government overreach. He garnered about 1 percent of the votes in the August 2022 Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, finishing in eighth place out of nine candidates. The seat ultimately was won by Andy Ogles, a Columbia Republican.  

Parks, who has spent his adult life in the real-estate business, is particularly proud of the historic homes he’s restored over the years. Now, he’s in the fight of his life trying to restore his reputation and maintain his liberty.  

He’ll have to do so again with the assistance of another public defender. Parks acknowledges going up against the full force of the federal government will be an uphill battle, but it’s a battle he says he’s committed to fighting.  

He says he knows two things: He’s not guilty of the crimes he’s been charged with, and he’s no insurrectionist.  

“Absolutely not. I am a peaceful, law-abiding, God-loving American.”  


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