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Judge forces US Capitol rioter to unlock laptop seized by FBI

July 21, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 45.7%. 1 min read.

A federal judge forced a US Capitol rioter to unlock his laptop Wednesday after prosecutors argued that it likely contained footage of the January 6 insurrection from his helmet-worn camera.

(CNN)A federal judge forced a US Capitol rioter to unlock his laptop Wednesday after prosecutors argued that it likely contained footage of the January 6 insurrection from his helmet-worn camera.

The judge granted the Justice Department's request to place Capitol riot defendant Guy Reffitt in front of his laptop so they could use facial recognition to unlock the device.

The maneuver happened after the hearing ended and Reffitt's lawyer confirmed to CNN that the laptop was unlocked.

In previous court filings, Reffitt's attorneys said that the search warrant for the laptop had expired, and that Reffitt didn't remember if there was a password.

"As the court here noted, requiring a defendant to expose his face to unlock a computer can be lawful, and is not far removed from other procedures that are now routinely approved by courts, with proper justification: standing in a lineup, submitting a handwriting or voice exemplar, or submitting a blood or DNA sample," CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said in an email.

Prosecutors have previously said in court filings that they believed the laptop contained more than 6 gigabytes of videos that Reffitt filmed on a helmet-worn camera while he moved from the Ellipse to the US Capitol grounds.

If the videos are on the laptop, prosecutors said, they could contain valuable evidence, like footage of the handgun that he brought to the Capitol, or any comments he made about his intentions that day.

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