The Department of Justice is restricting U.S. Capitol riot defendant Edward Jacob Lang from conducting media interviews while in pretrial detention.
Mr. Lang told The Washington Times that he received a “notice of media violation” from the Alexandria, Virginia, detention facility where he is being held after conducting an over-the-phone interview with The Epoch Times.
The notice said the interview was “a violation of U.S. Marshal’s policy,” according to Mr. Lang, who co-produced the documentary “The Truth About January 6th.”
The notice, he said, warned that “conducting media interviews via phone, in person, or by video” without prior approval “may result in disciplinary action” and further restrictions on Mr. Lang’s privileges while in detention.
“This is a constitutional issue at its very core,” Mr. Lang said in a phone interview which presumably could result in disciplinary action against him. “A real human being is being silenced in America like never before.”
Mr. Lang was arrested 10 days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and is being held in pretrial detention without bail at the Alexandria Detention Center, a jail operated by the Alexandria Sheriff that houses federal inmates through a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.
He said the notice he received Monday threatens to restrict his phone and in-person visitation privileges with his family if he conducts further interviews with media outlets without obtaining approval.
Before receiving the notice, Mr. Lang said he had not been warned that conducting media interviews was a violation of policy.
A spokesperson from the U.S. Marshals office was not able to provide The Washington Times with the written policy stating that Mr. Lang was required to obtain approval before contacting or conducting interviews with media outlets.
Mr. Lang read the full notice during the interview on Monday.
An official from the detention facility confirmed on Tuesday that Mr. Lang had been notified in writing that he had violated the U.S. Marshals media policy, though was unable to speak to specific disciplinary measures for inmates.
“Restricting phone privileges is an option for any inmate, but it is very rare,” the official said.
The official noted that “at the request of the Marshals,” Mr. Lang had been previously notified that “it is the responsibility of the media representative” to obtain approval from “the U.S. Attorney, the judge, the prisoner, the defense attorney, and the management of the detention facility where the prisoner is located.”
The U.S. Marshals denied The Times’ request last week to visit Mr. Lang at the detention facility.
The facility previously told the Times that neither Mr. Lang nor journalists require prior approval to speak over the phone, but that journalists required preapproval to conduct in-person interviews after the facility lifted its COVID-19 restrictions on visits earlier this month.
The facility also provided a copy of the “Alexandria Sheriff’s Office General Order,” which states, “If an inmate wishes to telephone a media representative and provide information, he or she is permitted to do so at his or her expense or at the expense of the media outlet, unless this poses a security threat to the Detention Center.”
“If such an interview is denied by Sheriff’s Office staff, the Sheriff will be notified via an Incident Report through the chain of command,” the policy reads.
On Tuesday, the same official who provided the policy said that inmates were free to contact media outlets by phone without prior approval.
Mr. Lang, who is facing charges ranging from civil disorder to assaulting, resisting or impeding officers during the Capitol riot has been outspoken about the treatment of himself and others detained in connection with the Capitol riot.
Earlier this month, Mr. Lang wrote to Alexandria’s mayor and city council detailing the “deplorable and subhuman” conditions at the detention facility.
“I have been discriminated against severely because of my political affiliations,” he wrote in a handwritten letter. “Because I am a conservative/Republican, I have been especially singled out and subjected to horrendous treatment.”
In the letter, he said that he has been held in solitary confinement for 22 hours per day for more than 70 days, despite having no documented disciplinary infractions and qualifying for placement in the general population.
“I have been informed by Chief [Deputy Sherriff Shelbert] Williams that because of my political affiliations I have to remain in solitary confinement,” he wrote.
He said while in solitary confinement, he is forced to eat meals on the floor. He also says the light in his room remains on 24 hours per day which he says causes “sleep deprivation.”
He said he has also been deprived of access to legal research, recreation facilities and religious services. He also said he has been refused health care services “numerous times” and had “hundreds” of pieces of his mail rejected.
He signed the letter, “Political prisoner of the Biden regime.”
While in prison, Mr. Lang also co-produced and narrated “The Truth About January 6th,” a documentary that is billed as “the full story” of the events of Jan. 6 “beyond the censored lens of mainstream media.”
“It is the raw and uncut truth of January 6th,” Mr. Lang says in his narration, which he recorded over the phone from his detention facility. “The day when free men and women stood unarmed against tyranny — who were brutalized, beat and even murdered on the steps of our own Capitol. The patriotic event of the century — where brave Americans came together to defend the Constitution and free and fair elections.”
In an interview Monday, Mr. Lang said the restrictions on his access to media are a violation of his First Amendment rights.
“It’s un-American what’s happening to me, and the American people should be outraged at the core,” he said. “This is not a partisan issue.”
He also compared his situation to the media attention showered on the House Jan. 6 committee.
“They get full access to every single media station in the country,” he said. “Just little Jake here, sitting in solitary confinement try to get bits and pieces of what happened, his testimony of January 6th, and the entire power of the United States government is raining down on me to try to silence me.”