United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
A Michael Jackson tour jacket turned out to be a thriller for federal agents working to identify a suspected rioter on the United States Capitol.
Prosecutors said James Beeks, who played Judas in a Jesus Christ Superstar production and also works as a Michael Jackson impersonator, can be seen in photos and videos from Jan.6 wearing the jacket, as thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
They said he was affiliated with the Oath Keepers, a far-right group involved in the attack. The Oath Keepers wore mostly camouflaged clothing, but in footage to date indicated in court documents, one can see a man with them wearing a black jacket with the word “BAD” in bright red letters.
This is the name of Michael Jackson’s world tour, which began in 1987.
Law enforcement was already investigating Beeks, a 49-year-old man from Orlando, Florida, after a rioter who pleaded guilty told officers Beeks had bonded with the Oath Keepers while they were on their way to the Capitol.
Investigators were able to find photos on social media of Beeks wearing what appears to be the same jacket, smiling and posing in front of a poster for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Prosecutors said Beeks played Judas in that production under the stage name James T. Justis. It appears he was replaced in that role, according to a current distribution list on the manufacturing site, who deleted his page.
There are other signs of Beeks’ enthusiasm for the pop icon – on YouTube he describes himself as “one of the best Michael Jackson Tribute artists”, and his nickname “jdmoonwalker” seems to be a benchmark. to Jackson’s famous dance step.
It was not immediately clear whether Beeks had hired an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He was arrested Tuesday and charged with obstructing Congress and illegally entering a building or restricted land. After making a first appearance, he was released.
Beeks was part of a mob that formed a squad to break into the Capitol, prosecutors said. After entering the building, they said Beeks joined a group trying to cross a line of law enforcement officers guarding a road leading to the Senate, but they were unable to pass the officers.
Beeks is one of more than 675 people who have been arrested so far during the capture of the Capitol.