A lawyer for Ryan Samsel said he broke the orbital floor and dislocated his jaw in the alleged attack.
WASHINGTON – An attorney for a Capitol riot defendant says his client was beaten “violently” by a guard while in custody at the D.C. Correctional Treatment Unit and may lose sight of an eye due to injuries.
Elisabeth Pasqualini is one of the lawyers representing Ryan Samsel, a Pennsylvania man accused of breaking down barriers and taking down a policeman – causing him a concussion – during the Capitol riot.
Samsel has been in federal custody since his arrest in January on charges of forcibly assaulting or interfering with a federal agent, obstructing an official process and obstructing a police officer.
This week, another Capitol riot defendant, Ronald Sandlin, told a federal judge during a bail hearing that Samsel was one of several defendants in the case who had suffered violence from D.C. correctional officers.
In an interview with WUSA9, Pasqualini said that Samsel had been “cruelly and savagely” beaten by a prison guard who tied his hands first. She says she was only alerted to the alleged attack when two lawyers representing other defendants contacted her and said that her client had been “beaten” by a guard and was in the hospital.
“He definitely suffered serious injuries, including a broken orbital floor, a broken orbital bone, his jaw was broken, his nose was broken,” said Pasqualini. According to Pasqualini, Samsel currently cannot see with his right eye and may permanently lose sight of him.
Even before the alleged assault, Pasqualini says that his client was locked up 23 hours a day and had difficulty accessing hygiene supplies and the shower. She says he was transferred to another prison, where he remains locked up.
Pasqualini says he reported the alleged assault to prison officials, who told him they are conducting an internal investigation. She also reported this to the FBI, which she said said she was also investigating.
A spokeswoman for the FBI’s Washington Field Office told WUSA9 in an e-mailed statement that the agency was aware of the allegations, but that “as a matter of policy, we cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.”
WUSA9 also contacted the D.C. Department of Corrections for comment, but did not receive a response on Wednesday night.
Samsel is not the first Capitol riot defendant to claim bad conditions during his confinement – although his allegations are the most serious.
Last month, alleged organizer of Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell was released on bailin part because, said his lawyer, he was confined to a wheelchair because he did not have access to orthopedic treatment while in custody.
Pasqualini said he does not plan to file a motion calling for Samsel’s release because the state of Pennsylvania has a detainee against him due to his probation status on January 6, when he is accused of participating in the Capitol riot.
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