East Naples man in custody at risk of COVID, lawyer says

East Naples man in custody at risk of COVID, lawyer says

A lawyer representing a man from Eastern Naples suspected of participating in the riot in the U.S. Capitol in January filed an urgency motion on Friday stating that the suspect had cancer and was at risk of one while in custody COVID-19 exposure.

Christopher Worrell, 49, was arrested after FBI agents issued a search and arrest warrant at his home on March 13.

Worrell attacked a number of police officers with pepper spray gel in front of the US Capitol during the uprising in Washington DC on January 6, according to the prosecutor.

Although the government knew not to enter the U.S. Capitol, Worrell lied to police officers about his behavior in the riot, refused to report for arrest, and made a vague threat against a potential witness, according to prosecutors.

Columbia District Court Justice Beryl A. Howell denied Worrell the bail on March 19, ruling that court documents state that he must remain in custody pending his trial.

Worrell is currently being held in Charlotte County Jail in Punta Gorda until extradited to Washington DC

More coverage:New lawyer for man from Eastern Naples arrested in connection with the Capitol uprising

And: Man from Eastern Naples arrested for participating in a “proud boy” riot in the Capitol

The suspect has no access to his prescribed cancer drugs and is developing lymphoma on the skin of his face, putting him at high risk of further complications and exposure to COVID-19, according to an emergency filing from his attorney.

The urgency motion calls on the court to reconsider Worrell’s pre-trial detention and release him pending trial.

Worrell is seeking a conditional release, which his attorney’s emergency filing would include ankle monitoring and home detention.

“Mr. Worrell has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is currently being treated. He must be released to continue treatment. Second, Mr. Worrell’s immune system has been weakened by the cancer, making him very susceptible to COVID-19” , it says in the emergency application.

A photo included on a U.S. Attorney's motion for the District of Columbia allegedly shows Christopher Worrell spraying pepper spray gel on police officers outside the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2020.

An affidavit from Dr. Bino Rucker from Bradenton included. The affidavit states that Rucker is Worrell’s treating oncologist for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Worrell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2007, an affidavit that can weaken the body’s ability to fight infections.

As a result, cancer survivors like Worrell are at higher risk for infectious diseases like COVID-19, according to affidavit.

Previous reporting:

Since his imprisonment, Worrell has suffered from exacerbating symptoms of his cancer, including lymphoma on the skin of his face, according to affidavit.

Worrell’s transfer to domestic detention would, according to affidavit, reduce the health risk associated with COVID-19.

Worrell is represented by John Pierce, former attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse.

Pierce, an attorney for Pierce Bainbridge in Los Angeles, had represented Rittenhouse, promoting his case, and soliciting money for his defense. He has since split with Rittenhouse, the Milwaukee Journal reported to Sentinel on Feb.4.

Rittenhouse was charged after he fatally shot and killed two men with an AR-15 rifle on August 25, the third night of the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Protests erupted in Kenosha after a police officer shot and paralyzed a black man seven times.

On Twitter, Pierce has voiced his opposition to restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly in his home state of California.

“Any restriction was lifted immediately. Masks off and churches open, ”Pierce tweeted on February 17th.

According to prosecutor’s office photos that appear to show Worrell during the January 6 riot at the Capitol, he failed to follow CDC guidelines and wore a mask. The photos were not challenged at a hearing where they were presented as evidence.

The emergency filing lists several other reasons why Worrell should be released from prison pending his trial, in addition to the risk of developing COVID-19 while in custody.

“Allegedly, Mr. Worrell was caught in the hustle and bustle of the crowd and was said to be part of a group of thousands outside the Capitol. However, there is no evidence that his intention was to wreak havoc, storm the capital, or disrupt the operation of our democratic process, ”the Emergency Ordinance reads. “There is no evidence that it poses a continuing threat to any person or community.”

Pierce did not respond to a request for comment prior to the publication of this story.