KEYS COUPLE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO JAN. 6 RIOT CHARGES

Bryan Bishop is seen on footage at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot. SEDITION HUNTERS/Contributed

A Marathon couple arrested in August in relation to their participation in the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol recently pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

Bryan Roger Bishop, 51, pleaded not guilty on Nov. 29 to nine counts in his federal indictment, which was posted to the online federal court filing system on Nov. 15.

He is accused, among other things, of assaulting two Capitol police officers with a dangerous weapon by spraying pepper spray under their helmets during the riot, carrying a dangerous weapon inside a restricted area, engaging in physical violence in a restricted area with a weapon and disorderly conduct.

The maximum sentence, under federal law, for assaulting a federal officer with a “deadly or dangerous weapon” is a 20-year prison term, depending on the severity and circumstances. 

Bishop’s wife, Tonya, 47, is not accused of violence or weapons-related charges, but is accused of remaining in a restricted area and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted area and in the Capitol building. She pleaded not guilty to the four counts at her Dec. 1 arraignment, also held via Zoom.

A status conference hearing in Tonya’s case is scheduled for Jan. 30.  

Bryan Bishop’s defense attorneys have until Dec. 20 to submit a proposal for trial and discovery dates and deadlines, according to online federal court records.

Bryan Bishop twice has asked the court to remove the ankle monitoring bracelet that was a requirement of his pretrial release. Tonya Bishop did not have to submit to location monitoring.

Federal prosecutors have opposed his request for removal of the bracelet, calling his arguments “unpersuasive.”

Bryan Bishop initially told the court in August that he lives on a boat and needs to enter the water to “constantly scrape barnacles off his vessel for maintenance.” In his second request for removal in October, Bishop added that he needs to spearfish to catch his meals and would “like the ability to swim to cool off” due to the Florida Keys’ unseasonably warm weather.

Prosecutors again opposed his request, writing, “the defendant’s arguments for why he needs to personally engage in spearfishing, as opposed to any other type of fishing that doesn’t require him to enter into the water, are unpersuasive.

“Because of the Defendant’s role in the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 …  and his lack of showing as to why he must be permitted to engage in swimming, scuba diving and spearfishing, the United States now requests that that condition of release be enforced and that the defendant’s motion for modification of them be denied.”

The online court records do not show whether the judge has ruled on Bishop’s second request for removal of the ankle bracelet. 

The Bishops could not be reached for comment, as the phone numbers listed in their arrest warrant had been changed or disconnected, states a recording from Verizon.

As of September, more than 1,100 people from all 50 states had been charged with a variety of offenses relating to their presence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Of those, 378 had been sentenced to jail or prison terms. Others have been fined either after going to trial or accepting plea deals. 

Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.