James Beeks, the actor fired last week from his gig as Judas in a touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar following his arrest for participation in the January 6 Capitol siege, will remain free on pretrial release despite angering a U.S. District Court judge by claiming “divine” authority.
During a pretrial videoconference today with Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Beeks said, “I am an American standing under public law and I am here by special divine appearance,” prompting a very bad review from the judge: “That’s all gobbledygook,” Howell said. “Mr. Beeks, you should be quiet unless spoken to.”
Beeks, a stage actor who has appeared on Broadway in Kinky Boots, Aida, Ragtime, and Smokey Joe’s Cafe and most recently starred as Judas in the touring production under the stage name James T. Justis, was arrested in Milwaukee last week and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with obstruction of Congress, a felony, as well as a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds.
Today, Beeks told Howell that he did not recognize the government’s jurisdiction over him, insisting at one point, “I am an American standing under public law and I am here by special divine appearance,” an argument associated with the “Sovereign Citizen” movement. Beeks dismissed the label, though, noting, “I’m not a sovereign citizen. There’s no such thing. That’s an oxymoron and it’s even an insult.”
The judge did not disguise her impatience with Beeks, snapping at one point, “I have no idea what you’re saying.”
“A defendant who objects to jurisdiction of the court rejects being subject to the laws of the United States,” Howell said, adding that such defendants are “typically not released pretrial.”
After conferring with his attorney, Beeks agreed to abide by pretrial release conditions of GPS monitoring and a curfew.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.