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Another NC journalist who covered January 6 Capitol breach faces prosecution


BRIANNA KRAEMER

Carolina Journal


North Carolina resident and independent journalist Steve Baker is facing four charges from federal prosecutors targeting him for covering the capitol breach on January 6, 2021.


Earlier this month, the FBI arrested Baker for entering the US Capitol more than three years ago. For several years, he anticipated possible prosecution, but nothing ever came. Then, last August, he received a grand jury subpoena for the content he produced on January 6. Four months later, he was told he would have to self-surrender in his hometown of Durham, where he’s lived for 30 years. 


After months of silence, Baker was again notified just weeks ago that he would have to self-surrender for misdemeanor charges. This time he turned himself in at the FBI field office in Dallas, Texas, where he has been working with The Blaze.


On January 6, Baker was in the crowd observing the events unfold for media coverage and followed the story inside the Capitol. In the years since, he has extensively reported on the disparities in coverage of the events of the day. Baker told the Carolina Journal that his investigative articles have been monitored because he has inside sources feeding him information at the Department of Justice. In fact, the DOJ has reportedly intervened in an investigation with Capitol Police that was set off by Baker’s reporting.


“I can’t help but sense that there’s not a coincidence,” Baker said. “This is the weaponization that we’re going against right now. It’s not just your crime. It’s your side of the political spectrum. It’s your voice.”


After surrendering, Baker was fingerprinted, handcuffed, and put in leg, belt, and wrist chains for a nonviolent misdemeanor before being processed and released. He has been charged with four nonviolent misdemeanor charges: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and, parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building. Many other journalists who were inside the Capitol that day have not been charged. 


Another that was charged was North Carolina freelance journalist Stephen Horn, who was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $2k fine, and 90 hours of community service. Horn called his punishment “lenient for a J6 trial” in a post on X. While Horn had a Trump-appointed judge, Baker has been assigned to Obama-appointed Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, DC. The federal judge – who officiated Obama’s wedding – recently made headlines for holding Catherine Herridge in contempt for not revealing her confidential sources on an investigative story she covered almost seven years ago for Fox News. Cooper set a fine of $800 per day for Herridge but she has time to appeal.


“I am concerned looking ahead,” said Baker. “I’ve prayed for two and a half years now, ‘Lord, let this cup pass from me.’ I don’t want to go through this. We know the strategy, we know what the DOJ is going to do, and then we have a defendant who has also covered their cases and knows exactly what they’re going to do. So we’re not flying blind here.”


Tucker Carlson interviewed Baker this week in a video that has garnered nearly two million views on X. 


Rep. Jim Jordan, R-OH, sent a letter to the Department of Justice outlining serious concerns he has about Baker’s treatment following his arrest. As head of the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan launched an investigation into the arrest, writing that the FBI’s treatment of Baker “smacks of harassment and selective treatment for a disfavored criminal defendant.”

Baker said he’s received welcomed support from Jordan as well as North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop, NC-08, and Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-GA, among others. He hopes that the assistance is more than just strong words coming from members of Congress, with no follow-up.


“But history says that’s all you ever get,” he added. “I’m hoping I can stay brave.”

Baker will appear remotely for a hearing on April 3.

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