Nov 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Broadway actor accused of joining Oath keepers in Capitol breach

 A large group of pro-Trump protesters stand on the East steps of the Capitol Building after storming its grounds on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

A Broadway actor was charged Tuesday for allegedly joining the Oath Keepers in breaching the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to a Department of Justice statement.

Why it matters: The arrest of James Beeks, who's currently playing Judas in a traveling "Jesus Christ Superstar" production under the stage name James T. Justis and is also a Michael Jackson impersonator, adds "an odd twist in [a] sprawling case" against the far-right group, per Politico, which first reported the news.

  • It was not immediately clear whether Beeks 49, of Orlando, Florida, was charged in connection with the DOJ's conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers, or whether the charges he faces, of obstruction of Congress and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, are separate to this.

Details: The DOJ alleges that Beeks was part of "a group of Oath Keeper members and affiliates" who marched in "stack" formation to breach the Capitol and that he was wearing a Michael Jackson "BAD" world tour jacket and a black helmet while "carrying what appeared to be a homemade black shield."

  • Prosecutors say that Beeks, described by the Justice Department as "an affiliate of the Oath Keepers," was "part of a mob of people, including some who attacked law enforcement."
  • He was also allegedly among a group that "tried to push their way through a line of law enforcement officers guarding a hallway that led to the Senate chamber."

For the record: Beeks was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in Milwaukee and made his initial appearance in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the DOJ said.

  • Beeks was released pending further court proceedings.
  • He was still listed as appearing on the U.S. tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber play early Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 675 people were arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol riot, the Justice Department said.

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