Orlando actor representing himself against Capitol riot charges acquitted

James Beeks arrested during appearance in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ national tour

Orlando performer discusses role in Capitol riot attack

WASHINGTON, D.C.An Orlando actor arrested and charged in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol has been acquitted after representing himself in court Wednesday.

James Beeks, also known as James Justis, was arrested on Nov. 24, 2021, at a theater in Minneapolis, where he was starring as Judas in the national touring company of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

The 49-year-old professional actor and singer was charged with six counts, which include conspiracy to defraud the U.S., tampering with a witness, destruction of government property and civil disorder.

Prosecutors claimed Beeks was a member of the extreme right group The Oath Keepers, and he joined other members of the group at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Innocent before proven guilty,” he told News 6 in January. “If I get a chance to get a fair trial, I would hopefully be exonerated in this.”

Beeks waived his right to a jury trial, opting instead to represent himself and be tried by Judge Amit Mehta.

According to court records, Mehta acquitted Beeks on two charges, claiming the U.S. Department of Justice failed to prove that Beeks knew there was a conspiracy.

Prosecutors agreed to drop the four remaining charges.

News 6 contacted Beeks to see if he had a comment about what happened and has not responded yet.

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About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.