A federal judge has found corrections officials in contempt of court over a Jan. 6 suspect’s medical treatment.
Additionally, the judge has called for a Justice Department investigation to determine whether the jail has violated the rights of other Jan. 6 defendants.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled on Wednesday that District of Columbia Jail Warden Wanda Patten and D.C. Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth failed to get medical treatment for Christopher Worrell, a Capitol rioter who needs surgery.
“It is more than just inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers,” said District Judge Royce Lamberth. “I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abridged. I don’t know if this is because he is a January 6 defendant or not.”
Inhumane and Degrading Conditions
Although Worrell broke his hand in May and doctors recommended surgery in June, his lawyers say he’s only received over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and Aleve.
Lamberth said that he would refer the case to the attorney general to see whether the Department of Corrections is “violating the civil rights of January 6 defendants.”
A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed to Fox News it received Lamberth’s referral without elaborating.
Worrell has been indicted on six charges related to his conduct on January 6, when he allegedly marched with the Proud Boys extremist group to the Capitol. Worrell, who was wearing tactical gear and a radio earpiece, then allegedly used pepper spray to assault police officers. He has pleaded not guilty.
A number of Capitol riot defendants have complained about what they say are unsanitary or unsafe conditions in the DC jail. In previous hearings, some judges have said they are working with the jail to try and address these complaints, and have expressed their frustration as imprisoned defendants raise access issues.
An attorney for the jail acknowledged Worrell’s slow recovery, which he blamed on a failure to communicate. Judge Lamberth responded curtly, “He’s needed an operation. He hasn’t gotten it.” Lamberth ordered the D.C. jail to expedite Worrell’s medical procedure one week earlier.
Worrell is also undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He previously contracted COVID-19 in jail.