Experts conceded hand grenades lacked Jeremy Brown’s DNA in Jan. 6-related case

The Oath Keepers member is on trial in federal court in Tampa

By: - December 7, 2022 1:24 pm

Card that Jeremy Brown supporters are carrying while they attend his federal trial Dec. 6, 2022. Credit: Mitch Perry

One of the most the most serious charges that Jeremy Brown faces in his trial taking place this week in Tampa is that he possessed two hand grenades that federal agents discovered when they searched his home and RV following his arrest in connection to the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill last year.

But the government’s case appeared to take a blow on Tuesday afternoon, when three FBI forensic agents trained in fingerprints, DNA, and fiber technology all said that they could not find a match from Brown on the grenades that are part of the 10-count indictment against him.

Brown was a 20-year U.S. Army Green Beret and Florida Oath Keepers member who was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He was originally arrested and charged in Washington, D.C., for entering and remaining in a restricted building and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building.

But the charges he is going before a jury in the Middle District of Florida concerns allegations that he was found with unregistered guns, explosives, and secret national security documents from his time serving in the military. Nine of the 10 counts he’s charged with are felonies, each carrying penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Krystal Breslin is a forensic examiner who works at the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) in Huntsville, Ala. She said that “there was “insufficient DNA to do any tests” on the grenades that authorities said they found in Brown’s RV on Sept. 30, 2021.

Jill Capistrant, who specializes in fingerprint technology at TEDAC, said that there were “no latent prints on grenades” she examined.

No match

Kimberly Reubush is another FBI forensic examiner whose specialty is hairs and fibers. She testified on Tuesday afternoon that a trace was performed on the hand grenades that yielded a human hair, a dog’s hair, and beige carpet fibers.

“They were not” a match for Brown’s dog, said Reubush.

While that information was undoubtedly news to the jury, it wasn’t for Brown or his supporters. They cheered when it was revealed in October by attorneys working for a defendant in a separate Oath Keepers trial taking place in Washington that forensic experts had determined the grenades tied to Brown were not a DNA match.

Brown’s attorneys are contesting four of the five counts that he possessed secret national security documents, contending that federal agents planted them as well on the day of his arrest.

Roger Futerman, Brown’s lead attorney, questioned FBI agent Keith Drummer regarding photos of the items taken by the government at the time of the raid of Brown’s home and RV. He was the “evidence custodian” of that action, which meant logging all the evidence taken at the scene.

But the government could not produce a photo of the CD which allegedly contains much of the secret Defense Department documents that Brown has been charged with possessing illegally. Drummer noted that there was a photo of the CD case taken at the scene.

The mystery over the lack of a photo of that CD that contained many of those secret documents resurfaced when testimony resumed on Wednesday morning.

No CD photo

Elyssa Gonzalez works as a staff operation specialist with the FBI. Her job when law enforcement arrived to search Brown’s home and RV was as a “photologger,” meaning she documented every photo that agents took.

She testified that in fact she did not log a photo of the CD that day.

“Nothing is taken of the CD. And you don’t remember ever seeing a CD?” asked Futerman.

“No,” she replied.

There is a photo of the CD that is part of the evidence provided by the government in the case. But officials have acknowledged that it was taken at some point this year — and not on the day of Brown’s arrest.

Meanwhile, the government intended to begin bringing up witnesses associated with Brown’s tenure in the military later on Wednesday.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.

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