August 3, 2022
Gay MAGA Influencer Brandon Straka Provides Feds 'Significant Information' on Jan. 6 Rioters
Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.
Brandon Straka, a former hairstylist who became a MAGA influencer by creating the "#WalkAway" campaign to urge Democrats to join the GOP, has provided federal authorities with "significant information" about January 6 rioters, reports said.
Buzzfeed News reported that Straka, 44, had cooperated with the FBI, giving agents detailed information "as part of a plea deal with prosecutors over his involvement in the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, including his naming of another rioter whom the authorities had not yet identified."
New details about the information Straka reportedly provided to authorities came to light when court documents were unsealed thanks to a court order that followed media requests. But "sealed attachments" to those documents were also mistakenly released in which "prosecutors went into great detail in laying out for the judge the information Straka had turned over on himself and others in interviews with the FBI," the news outlet added.
The Washington Post reported last October that Straka had taken a plea deal following the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol Building. The Post recounted that Straka "admitted in plea papers to recording himself during the Capitol breach in front of a mobbed entrance, urging a crowd to wrest away a riot shield from a police officer and shouting: 'Take it! Take it!'"
"At another point, according to plea papers, Straka stood behind a crowd of people trying to push their way in, yelling, 'Go! Go!'" the Post added.
BuzzFeed related that on Jan. 6, Straka "posted inflammatory comments on social media urging 'patriots' to 'hold the line,' but he later said he did not realize there was violence or vandalism occurring inside the Capitol."
NBC News noted that Straka was sentenced earlier this year to "three months of home detention and a total of three years of probation" and added that "His relatively light sentence was in part due to what his lawyer described as 'significant' cooperation with the FBI investigation into the Jan. 6 attack."
BuzzFeed tallied various bits of information that Straka relayed to federal authorities during three meetings that took place on February 11 and March 5 of last year, and Jan. 5 of this year. "His lawyers also passed along information on his behalf on Dec. 8, 2021," the account said.
The documents indicated that Straka "turned over voicemail messages from [Simone] Gold that contained 'valuable' information, which they indicated could lead her to take a plea deal," BuzzFeed said. Gold is "the founder of America's Frontline Doctors, a group that has questioned COVID-19 vaccines and pushed unproven drugs," the article detailed, and she "pleaded guilty to one Jan. 6-related misdemeanor offense in March this year as part of a plea agreement."
The documents also indicate that Straka provided authorities with "information regarding 'Stop the Steal' organizer Ali Alexander and members Amy Kremer, Kylie Kremer, and Cindy Chafian," as well as "more 'general information' about Alexander, as well as naming another man who he had been told had entered Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office."
The documents revealed that Straka had also provided information that incriminated "a registered sex offender who lived near him in Nebraska" who prosecutors noted "was not previously identified by the FBI prior to Straka's identification."
Authorities reportedly warned Straka that the registered sex offender had a "predatory and aggressive history, which could easily result in retaliation against Mr. Straka or his family."
BuzzFeed News added that in moving to seal the records, prosecutors cited a text they said Straka had received that implored, "Whatever you told them, it's not too late to undo this. You will go to your grave as a traitor otherwise – that will be your legacy."
Straka took to social media site Gettr with "a two-page letter expressing outrage at what he described as a 'leak'" to what he derided as "the liberal media," NBC News said.
In the post, Straka declared, "There is NOTHING WRONG with talking to the DOJ and telling them your friends are innocent," NBC News added.
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.