Judge agrees to let accused rioter who allegedly harbored Jan. 6 fugitive out of pretrial jail


Photos of Thomas Osborne from DoJ Jan. 6 footage. (Courtesy SeditionHunters)

Photos of Thomas Osborne from DOJ Jan. 6 footage. (Courtesy SeditionHunters)

A federal judge has ordered an accused Jan. 6 rioter from Florida — who allegedly harbored a fugitive Proud Boy for six weeks — released from jail pending trial, though he will be required to wear a GPS monitor.

Thomas Paul Osborne, 40, was indicted on Feb. 21 on four charges including felony civil disorder, entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a restricted area, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. Prosecutors say he grabbed an officer’s baton as he tried to impede police defending the building and lawmakers inside.

He was arrested in Lakeland, Florida, on Feb. 22, according to a warrant. The FBI had already placed him on its “lookout” list, the Justice Department said. Prosecutors had wanted to keep Osborne detained ahead of his trial, the AP reported, and in a transcript of Osborne’s hearing before a magistrate judge in Florida when he made his first appearance post-arrest, U.S. Attorney Risha Asokan rattled off a lengthy list of reasons why.

To start, Asokan told U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda Sansone, when Osborne came to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, he didn’t come alone, but traveled with two others: a brother and sister also from Lakeland, Jonathan and Olivia Pollock. Osborne worked at the Pollocks’ gun store in Florida, too.

Both of the Pollocks fled after they were charged: Jonathan Pollock went on the run for nearly two-and-a-half years while his sister was on the lam for a full year before authorities tracked her down. Jonathan Pollock did not have an ankle monitor but his sister did and she cut it. The siblings were arrested this January along with another accused rioter, Joseph Hutchinson, as Law&Crime previously reported. They were found working on a ranch in central Florida.

While prosecutors did not say that Osborne helped the Pollock family flee, they nonetheless warned the FBI had “reason to believe” that given Osborne’s friendliness and connection to the Pollocks, he posed a significant flight risk. Their world was a “network” of resources all meant to evade detection from law enforcement, Asokan urged.

“So this is not the usual case of somebody who maybe doesn’t have ties to the community because they’re from a different country, or they have lots of money and they have a passport, [or] frequency of international travel. Rather, we have a demonstrated case here of a network of people who help Jan. 6 defendants escape prosecution,” she said.

And Osborne’s connection to Proud Boy Christopher Worrell was especially concerning.

“[Worrell] is from this jurisdiction as well. He was tried by bench trial last summer, found guilty on all counts for his conduct in the January 6th riot that took place, and prior to sentencing he also cut his GPS monitor and left a letter for his girlfriend and said that, you know, he needed to go,” Asokan said.

As Law&Crime has reported, Worrell disappeared in August 2023 just days ahead of his scheduled sentencing. Authorities eventually found him weeks later, and the mystery of where he had been began to unravel.

“The FBI subsequently learned that, for the approximately six weeks that Worrell had absconded pending his sentencing, Osborne had been harboring Worrell at Osborne’s residence,” prosecutors wrote in their motion opposing his release. “In December 2023, the FBI searched Osborne’s residence and recovered certain of Worrell’s belongings.”

Text messages between Osborne and Worrell — and Osborne and Worrell’s girlfriend — were also discovered, the memo says.

The prosecutor highlighted her wariness that after his arrest, in Osborne’s home, the FBI found an “astonishing amount of guns” including a loaded silver revolver near the front door of his residence stashed in a nearby closet, an AR-15 platform rifle next to his bed, a shotgun under it, multiple handguns on the top of his dresser and “an alarming” number of loaded and unloaded magazines.

That was far from the complete collection, prosecutors said.

Osborne’s defense attorney argued her client’s case shouldn’t be associated with the Pollocks or Hutchinson because he did not run nor hide from authorities. In the end, Sansone agreed to detain Osborne. But when the case moved from magistrate court to the federal district court in Washington, D.C., U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta overruled Sansone.

From inside the courtroom, AP reported that the Mehta told Osborne: “There’s no point in running because you’re eventually going to get caught.”

If he ran, it would only “make matters worse,” the Barack Obama-appointed judge said.

A March 14 order setting the conditions of Osborne’s release shows that Mehta put him in the custody of his sister Cheryl Gordon, and his father, Richard Osborne. He will be under 24-hour home lockdown. He had to surrender his passport, and is only allowed to remain in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, area where Gordon lives.

His release order bars him from having any contact whatsoever with the Pollocks or Hutchinson and he is not allowed to possess any firearms. He, like Worrell, will be forced to wear an ankle monitor.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *