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(LifeSiteNews) — The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested The Blaze investigative reporter Steve Baker Friday morning on unspecified charges pertaining to the events of January 6, 2021, a subject on which Baker’s coverage has challenged the claims of the federal government.

On February 27, Baker said that the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified his attorneys that he was to surrender himself to their custody at 7 a.m. in Texas, on unspecified “non-violent misdemeanor” charges, for a 10 a.m. magistrate hearing. Baker was told he will be released after the hearing but perceives in the move a “need to give me a dose of the personal humiliation treatment” rather than simply ordering him to appear.

“We do not know if there will be pretrial travel restrictions, although that has been the norm for J6 defendants — even for misdemeanor defendants,” he told The Blaze. “It has also been universal that no J6ers are allowed to travel to Washington, D.C., which for obvious reasons will have a deleterious impact on my work. We also do not know if there will be any other accompanying restrictions or orders: gag order from talking about my case, no social media, limited social media, order to surrender devices and/or firearms. All unknowns.”

Baker has been under federal scrutiny for years related to January 6. “Like many other reporters and photojournalists — both independents and those working directly for established media companies — I followed the story that day where it went,” he wrote in October. “And it happened to be inside the Capitol Building. Depending on who is doing the counting, between 100 and 200 journalists were either already inside the Capitol, covering the event from restricted grounds, or followed the crowd inside.”

Baker says he “made no effort to hide what I was doing” to the point of doing multiple interviews and commentaries about what he saw. “I did no violence or property destruction on January 6, and I certainly did not interfere with the election certification, as I didn’t enter the Capitol Building until well after both the Senate and House of Representatives had been evacuated.” He was eventually contacted by the FBI in July 2021 and interviewed that October.

In November 2021, Baker was informed he would be charged with “interstate racketeering and property damage.” Exactly why wasn’t specified, but he and his attorney theorized that the former was based on him making some money from licensing his January 6 footage to various news services and media outlets, and the latter on him standing on a bench to get a better camera angle, which was technically illegal.

Baker was told at that time that he would most likely be charged “within the week,” but after going public with the situation he received an outpouring of support, including from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who put him in touch with his chief January 6 investigator. After that, the office of Assistant U.S. Attorney Anita Eve did not contact him again for over a year and a half.

In December 2023, after months of additional January 6 coverage on his part, Baker announced that he was notified he would be arrested sometime after Christmas, and has been waiting for the sword to drop ever since.

Blaze Media editor in chief Matthew Peterson said Baker has “had unknown charges hanging over his head for years, but after we started working with him the government sprang back into action. There is no need to put him in a jumpsuit or handcuffs except as a humiliation ritual or a show, which seems to be exactly what they are planning on doing on Friday.”

“We will be showing the world footage from January 6 that shows Steve was clearly present that day as an independent journalist,” he added. “Government retaliation such as this against journalists contradicts the very idea of a free press, the purpose of our form of government, and what once was the American way of life […] this should not be happening in America.”

Baker’s extensive January 6 reporting, highlights of which have been compiled by The Blaze, has challenged various aspects of the prevailing narratives about that day, including alleged false claims by U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and David Lazarus and unanswered questions about a pipe bomb found near the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

The January 6 protest broke out after former President Donald Trump’s rally to encourage Congress to delay certification of the 2020 presidential election over reports of vote fraud and election irregularities in several states.

Despite the FBI failing to find evidence that violence at the event was planned or organized, more than a dozen Democrat committee investigations into the incident have continued ever since, with hundreds of people arrested. Videos show that many people were let into the Capitol by police and simply walked the halls after the initial breach. 

The most troubling aspect of the situation has been the treatment of those arrested. Many non-violent misdemeanor cases (and even some who did nothing more than enter the building) have been subjected to disproportionate treatment and held in abysmal conditions while awaiting trial.

According to a whistleblower complaint filed by former FBI Special Agent Steve Friend, the FBI’s Washington, D.C. field office has been “manipulating” case management protocol to assign J6 cases to field offices in other parts of the country in order to create the impression that the “threat” is more widespread than it really is; that it is opening domestic terrorism cases on innocent Americans who hadn’t even been at the Capitol based on little more than anonymous tips; and more.

“[M]anipulative casefile practice… creates false and misleading crime statistics, constituting false official federal statements,” Friend explained. “Instead of hundreds of investigations stemming from an isolated incident at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, FBI and DOJ officials point to significant increases in domestic violent extremism and terrorism around the United States.”