Area right-wing rally organizer Mark Sahady of Malden had been scheduled to go on trial today for his alleged role in the failed Jan. 6 Vanilla Isis coup, but a judge last week put a hold on the proceedings until after Sahady can find what would be his fourth lawyer since his arrest.
The delay, however, means Sahady is free to roam the Commonwealth on personal recognizance as he awaits trial on five federal counts related to his bus trip down to the DC, including obstruction of an official proceeding, which is a felony. He can even traipse around the Common, after a judge in Washington lifted an initial injunction by a Boston magistrate barring him from the area around the State House.
Sahady initially had his trial date set for April 17, but that was postponed after prosecutors added the felony count - and as his lawyer and federal prosecutors tried to negotiate a possible plea deal.
Following his arrest two weeks after Joe Biden was officially declared the next president, Sahady was represented by Rinaldo Del Gallo III, a Pittsfield lawyer who had spoken at some of the lightly attended rightwing rallies Sahady had organized in Boston.
But after the magistrate judge in Boston who handled the case initially chewed out Del Gallo for filing an "unintelligible" motion and Sahady had his case transferred to DC federal court, Sahady dropped him and hired John Kiyonaga, a lawyer in Alexandria, VA.
Del Gallo then formally complained in Boston federal court that Sahady stiffed him, but a judge here took no action on his claim for payment.
In January of this year, Sahady dropped Kiyonaga and hired Blake Weiner of Richmond, VA.
Then, earlier this month, Sahady fired Weiner. In his last act as his lawyer, Weiner filed a motion requesting he be dropped from the case and asking that trial be delayed:
Mr. Sahady believes that an irretrievable breakdown in communication between attorney and client has resulted in a fundamental and irreparable disagreement as to the defense of this matter, where Mr. Sahady faces numerous charges, including a felony.
As such, Mr. Sahady has discharged undersigned counsel, and has requested that undersigned immediately file this Motion to Withdraw and a Motion to Continue trial so that Mr. Sahady can obtain a new attorney.
Mr. Sahady has communicated with multiple attorneys in an effort to obtain new counsel, but at this time has not selected a substitute attorney, and has requested that the trial in this matter be continued so that he may find time to retain a new attorney and the new attorney may have time to prepare for trial.
On Aug. 13, US District Court Judge Carl Nichols agreed and suspended all activity in the case until after Sahady hires his fourth attorney. Nichols set a hearing for this Thursday to get an update.
Earlier in the year, Weiner sought to have charges against Sahady dropped, in part because of how long it was taking to get to trial on them. Prosecutors, however, opposed his motion, arguing in part that Sahady himself had "happily" agreed to waivers of time used to calculate a possible speedy-trial violation as his counsel and they negotiated a possible plea deal.
When Sahady does finally come to trial, he will do so before a judge, rather than a jury. In March, he asked the judge in his case to transfer it to Massachusetts, on the theory that potential jurors here would be less likely to hate him right off the bat. After that failed, he asked for a "bench trial" in which his lawyer and prosecutors would make their case directly to a judge.
In the time that Sahady has not gone to trial, several other Massachusetts failed insurrectionists have: Noah Bacon, a Somerville yoga instructor was sentenced to a year in federal prison; Vincent Gillespie, turned in by fellow Athol residents, got six years; and Suzanni Ianni, a Natick Town Meeting member who helped organize bus rides to DC with Sahady, got 15 days.
Still awaiting trial are Massachusetts residents arrested after the initial wave of arrests: Michael St. Pierre of Fall River, who allegedly wanted to grab Nancy Pelosi and twirl her by the hair; former Boston cop Joseph Fisher, charged with attacking a DC cop with a chair; and Jacquelyn Starer, an Ashland doctor charged with punching a cop in the head.