WASHINGTON (KDKA) – Attorneys for the former part-time Shaler school teacher arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol appeared in federal court Wednesday, asking that he be released pending trial.
Twenty-eight-year-old Robert Morss of Glenshaw is charged with assaulting officers, civil disorder and robbery of U.S. property.
The case against Morss has moved on to Washington D.C., where a judge has delayed a decision on whether he be released pending trial despite government claims that he is a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Dressed in military fatigues, wearing body army and carrying knives, scissors and a tourniquet, the government argued that Robert Morss came to D.c. on Jan. 6 prepared for anything. They argued the former U.S. Army Ranger marshaled fellow protesters into violent acts, including stealing a Capitol Police protective shield and organizing a shield wall of protesters to push their way past the officers.
“It is particularly concerning that he appears to put his military training into action as a leader and an organizer,” the prosecutor said, adding that if released, that training now poses a threat to the community.
“His background as an Army Ranger — his military training — actually heightens his danger to the community. He is a danger to anyone who comes in conflict with his personal and political views.”
His public defender accused the government of an overreaching and cavalier interpretation of the videos, saying they do not show him commanding others or assaulting the Capitol Police. She noted that Morss had been a soldier, a college graduate and a teacher with no prior arrests.
“At no point was Mr. Morss acting as a leader or an organizer…His intent was to advance forward — not to harm anyone,” she said.
But U.S. District Judge G. Michael Harvey postponed his decision because the prosecution had not yet introduced the videos into evidence. Harvey said he could not form a decision without them.
The government said it could supply the judge and the prosecution those videos by Friday. The judge has scheduled another hearing for Tuesday at which time he said he’ll make a decision on whether to release Morss pending trial.