WASHINGTON — A "Lawyers for Trump" volunteer whose election conspiracy theory video was shared by one of former President Donald Trump's sons in 2020 was ordered released from Bureau of Prisons custody last week ahead of her trial on Jan. 6 charges.
Kellye SoRelle, who had been general counsel for the far-right Oath Keepers, was found incompetent to stand trial over the summer and reported to a federal prison facility on Nov. 27 to undergo mental health treatment to have her competency restored. U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered SoRelle released Friday evening after a hearing Thursday at which the government said a federal Bureau of Prisons evaluation found that SoRelle is now competent.
SoRelle had been held at the federal medical center in Fort Worth, Texas, Bureau of Prisons records say.
Horatio Aldredge, an attorney representing SoRelle, challenged whether she is actually competent to stand trial at the hearing last week and asked for her team’s own independent evaluation.
Mehta said they should "move quickly" on getting the independent evaluation done and said he was worried that SoRelle might go off her medication, which would lead to a different evaluation of her competency. SoRelle's defense said she was not on medication.
SoRelle had been in a relationship with Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers group, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in his own Jan. 6 trial in 2022 and was sentenced last year to 18 years in prison, one of the longest sentences of any Capitol attack defendant. The government had highlighted their personal relationship at trial, arguing that SoRelle did not do any legal work for the organization until after the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, when she took possession of Rhodes' cellphone and, according to prosecutors, sent messages in his name. A judge ruled their texts were not protected by attorney-client privilege.
SoRelle has told NBC News that Rhodes wanted her contacts with Trump associates in the lead-up to the Jan. 6 attack.
After Trump’s election loss, SoRelle was in touch with Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s son, about alleged election issues. SoRelle recorded a video of a man in Detroit removing a box from a white van — ballots, she suspected — and placing it in a red wagon. Eric Trump, Donald Trump's son, posted about the video, linking to an article suggesting the video showed some sort of election malfeasance. In fact, the man was a news photographer who was wheeling in media equipment, not ballots.
A follow-up hearing in SoRelle's case was scheduled for 2 p.m. March 8. She faces four charges: conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, entering and remaining on restricted grounds, and obstruction of justice, for allegedly inducing other Oath Keepers to delete their records.