Crime

Judge Sets Trial Date for Florida Jan. 6 Rioter #Tweedledumb

Mason Courson's Cypress Bay High yearbook photo beside the image shared by the FBI.
Mason Courson's Cypress Bay High yearbook photo beside the image shared by the FBI. Photo by Alex DeLuca/Courtesy of FBI
Roughly nine months after Broward man Mason Courson (AKA #Tweedledumb) was arrested for his alleged role in the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, he is slated to stand trial in Washington D.C.

On Friday, Senior U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan set the jury selection and trial for Courson to begin on September 25. Courson is accused of joining the mob of rioters chanting "Heave, ho!" as they bashed their way into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, leaving D.C. Metropolitan police officer Daniel Hodges crushed and bleeding between two doors. Courson faces eight federal charges, including assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers and inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

Sullivan also scheduled the trial date for fellow defendants Clayton Ray Mullins of Kentucky; former sheriff's deputy Ronald Colton McAbee of Tennessee; and Logan James Barnhart of Michigan. The trial is estimated to last around three weeks.
Courson's attorney, Nicholas Smith, did not respond to New Times' request for comment via email.

Courson is one of more than 890 people — dozens of them Floridians — who were slapped with federal charges for their alleged roles in storming the U.S. Capitol to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The 26-year-old, who grew up in Weston and attended Cypress Bay High School, later moved to Tamarac, where he was arrested by U.S. Marshals on December 14 for his alleged role in the attack.

According to a November 17 federal indictment, Courson and a group of rioters stormed into the Lower West Terrace tunnel of the Capitol at around 3:15 p.m. on January 6. Roughly an hour later, prosecutors say, the group assaulted an officer with a baton, flagpole, and crutch.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) worked to identify Courson via social media in the months following the unprecedented attack, particularly on Twitter, where they shared photos of him sporting a red Trump beanie outside the Capitol. Before his identity was confirmed, internet sleuths gave Courson and another similar-looking man who appeared alongside him in a Trump cap the nicknames #Tweedledee and #Tweedledumb.

As previously reported by New Times, Courson's mother, Angelica Rea, created a campaign on the Christian crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo seeking to raise $50,000 to help cover Courson's legal fees and other financial obligations. It states that Courson had "no ill intent" when he went to watch then-President Trump speak on January 6 but wound up in a situation he "never imagined."

"He is a man with a strong Christian faith, an incredible father, son, and brother, and loves his country, believes in freedom," the fundraiser states, "a true patriot as we are all now called."

The campaign has raised $3,807 as of August 16. The most recent donation, for $30, was made five days ago by someone who wrote: "We are praying for you!"
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca