- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 14, 2022

Attorneys for the California man charged with attempting to murder Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh are moving to suppress statements he made to law enforcement expressing his intent to kill the justice on the day of his arrest.

In a motion filed this week in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, attorneys for Nicholas Roske requested a hearing over whether their client spoke voluntarily to law enforcement.

If the court decides that Mr. Roske gave his statements in violation of his right against self-incrimination or the right to counsel, the judge must block the evidence from trial, they argued.

“This motion seeks to exclude all alleged statements which the government may seek to introduce at trial, whether or not such statements are yet known to counsel or are specified herein. However, without limitation, the following alleged statements are specifically at issue: Statements allegedly made by Mr. Roske to law enforcement officials on June 8, 2022, both at the location of his arrest and later at a police station,” the two-page filing read.

The defense attorneys also moved to delay the trial date — all of which is standard practice in a high-profile criminal case, according to legal experts.

“These are fairly standard moves for defense counsel. While there is a right to a speedy trial, many defendants waive that right to gain more time for preparation. The government has the advantage in evidence. The case is more difficult for the defense due to the reported statements of the client to the police on the 911 call. That is pre-Miranda and admissible,” said Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School. “He also appears to have made statements following his arrest.” 

SEE ALSO: Supreme Court’s pro-Second Amendment ruling fuels gun rights groups to target bans, age limits

The court originally set a trial date for August, but both sides have agreed to a delay and remove the date from the court’s schedule.

“For something like attempted murder, it may take years before the trial is actually held,” said Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law.

Police arrested Mr. Roske outside the Montgomery County home of Justice Kavanaugh on June 8. They said Mr. Roske confessed to being angry about the court’s pending rulings on abortion and the Second Amendment, and had planned to kill Justice Kavanaugh and himself in order to give his life a purpose.

Deputy U.S. marshals stationed outside the justice’s home spotted Mr. Roske as he exited a taxi. He then walked down the road and called 911 on himself. He said he had traveled from his home in Simi Valley, California, to kill a justice, had a firearm in his suitcase and was having suicidal thoughts, authorities said.

County police arrived and arrested Mr. Roske, 26. They reported finding in his gear a Glock 17 pistol, a tactical vest, a tactical knife, ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties and a set of tools, including a crowbar, according to court documents.

Mr. Roske told a police detective that he was upset about the recently leaked draft opinion showing the high court is poised to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a national right to abortion. He also was upset about the way he thought Justice Kavanaugh would rule in that case and in gun rights cases, the detective said.

Roske stated that he began thinking about how to give his life a purpose and decided that he would kill the Supreme Court justice after finding the justice’s Montgomery County address on the internet,” FBI Special Agent Ian Montijo, a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, said in an affidavit.

Mr. Roske was charged with violating a law that forbids attempting or threatening to kidnap or kill a federal judge. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in a federal prison.

He is currently in federal custody.

• Stephen Dinan contributed to this report.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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