On Christmas Eve of 2020 – more than two weeks before a mob would storm the U.S. Capitol – Deborah Wilson of Lebanon posted on her community Facebook page: “Would there be an interest locally in organizing a caravan to Washington DC for the Electoral College vote count on Jan 6th, 2021?”

Wilson, who testified Tuesday on the first day of the federal trial of Kyle Fitzsimons, said she did not want to post the query.

“I made it very clear to Mr. Fitzsimons that I didn’t want to,” Wilson told U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in a Washington, D.C. courtroom. She said she even labeled his post, “Discussion and offer by Lebanon resident Kyle Fitzsimons” to separate herself.

But Fitzsimons showed up uninvited at her house to ask her to share his message, she said, since she sometimes accepts community submissions.

Fitzsimons, 38, of Lebanon, faces nearly a dozen charges for his violent role in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He was the first of five people in Maine to be charged for crimes related to Jan. 6. His charges include two counts of inflicting bodily injury on officers who were on duty at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and one count of using a dangerous or deadly weapon on an officer.

Fitzsimons’ case will be decided by Contreras in a bench trial, since he waived his right to a jury.


Wilson is the sole administrator of a community Facebook page, Lebanon Maine Truth Seekers, which is mostly dedicated to Fire Department updates, missing pets and charity events in her community of under 7,000 people. People call the town “Lawless Lebanon,” she said, because it has no law enforcement or mayor’s office.

Although Wilson tried to tell the judge about Fitzsimons’ “human side,” she said could be intense and “passive aggressive” in local meetings and political discussions. She knew Fitzsimons shared the conservative views of many in her community, where she said several yards still bear Trump flags – which Fitzsimons referenced in his post.

“I am arranging the time off and will be a driver if anyone wishes to hitch a ride, or a lead for a caravan of vehicles,” Fitzsimons’ post continued. “If a call went out for able bodies, would there be an answer?”

Federal prosecutors accuse Fitzsimons of assaulting three officers – Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the Capitol Police, and Detective Phuson Nguyen and Officer Sarah Beaver of the Metropolitan Police Department – as well as a number of other officers in a line that Fitzsimons charged with his fists waving.

Nguyen, who has since been promoted to sergeant, testified Tuesday that Fitzsimons pulled off his gas mask while another demonstrator aimed what appeared to be bear spray at his face. Fitzsimons then released the mask – and when it snapped back, Nguyen dropped to the ground, choking and burning.

“In my head, I thought that was it for me,” he said Tuesday.


Surrounded by a mob of demonstrators he had been trying to hold back, Nguyen struggled on the ground, trying to break the protective seal on his gas mask while other officers pulled him up. It was the second time he had been sprayed that afternoon.

“In my head, I was thinking about my family,” Nguyen said. “In my head, I was telling myself, ‘If you want to see your family again, you need to gather yourself.'”

Contreras has yet to hear from the other officers Fitzsimons is accused of injuring. U.S. Attorney Doug Brasher said in his opening remarks that Fitzsimons pulled on Sgt. Gonell’s arm so hard that he injured Gonell’s shoulder, and later threw a pole-like object at Beaver’s head that would have seriously injured her if she hadn’t been wearing a helmet.

Both Gonell and Beaver are expected to testify during the second day of Fitzsimons’ trial Wednesday, along with a local journalist in Lebanon who has interviewed with Fitzsimons.

Before arriving in Washington, around the same time he asked Deborah Wilson to post his call for “able bodies” on Facebook, Fitzsimons left at least two voicemail messages on the office phone of U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from Lewiston.

His staff ended up forwarding one of the messages to Capitol Police, according to testimony from Golden’s chief of staff, Aisha Woodward.


“Will you have the courage to object on the 6th?” Fitzsimons could be heard saying in that voicemail that prosecutors played Tuesday. “I certainly have the courage to object to my entire life going forward. … My name is Kyle Fitzsimons, and I’ll be in D.C. on the 6th.”

“They were concerning with regard to the indication of being willing to ‘object to the rest of his entire life … ‘ and the comment at the end about coming to Washington on the 6th,” Woodward said. “The tone seemed kind of menacing. It sort of felt intense, in a way.”

Fitzsimons’ defense attorney said Tuesday that her client showed up at the Capitol to support a constitutional and legal process, in which elected members of Congress could have voted against certifying the presidential vote. She said Fitzsimons was following information from “mainstream” sources – news outlets and federal and state officials who were speaking about alleged “irregularities” in the electoral results.

“He was still being told by these same mainstream individuals, and by the chief executive officer of this nation, that there was a plan,” said Natasha Taylor-Smith, Fitzsimons’ assigned public defender. “That plan did not include the military. It did not include violence or weapons of any kind. All that needed to happen was for the state legislatures to come together on Jan. 6 and object to the certification.”

Taylor-Smith said when Fitzsimons left the Capitol at the end of that day, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was “bloody, concussed, and he received eight staples to the top of his head.”

Kyle Fitzsimons, of Lebanon, who is one of more than 800 people charged with participating in the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol.

Fitzsimons was the first Maine resident to face federal prosecution for participating in the riot. Most recently, he’s also been one of several participants in the riot who have raised money for their defense, despite being assigned a public defense attorney. Prosecutors announced this month that they planned to seize some of the $20,000 they said Fitzsimons has raised illegally.


Hundreds of those who headed to the Capitol on Jan. 6 are now facing criminal charges. They include a handful of other Maine residents.

Glen Mitchell Simon from Minot was sentenced to eight months last week, months after pleading guilty to a charge of disorderly and disruptive conduct for using a metal bicycle rack outside the entrance to the Capitol to push away officers who were trying to prevent the mob from entering.

Nicholas Hendrix, a Gorham resident and U.S. veteran, pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor, in late June.

Jefferson resident Joshua Colgan is still awaiting trial after he pleaded not guilty in July to four misdemeanor charges.

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