Valley activist charged in Capitol riot released after posting cash and property bonds

Local News

FRESNO, Calif.-(KSEE/KGPE)- Real estate agent and local activist Benjamin Martin was released from a federal hold in jail Friday morning, according to the Fresno County Jail’s website. Martin is charged with allegedly participating in the violent insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6 of this year.

Federal court documents say a judge allowed Martin to be released from jail after posting a $15,000 cash bond. The document also said martin had to surrender his passport, and post a property bond.

Martin is known for clashing with local politicians and protesting masks mandates. A lawyer and legal expert in Fresno who handles state and federal charges says given the nature of Martin’s alleged crimes, his release isn’t surprising.  

“Unless it was one of the individuals that was shown actually with some kind of a real weapon on them or they were actually shown striking somebody and there’s good video of that, they’re not treating them as harshly as they could,” said David Mugridge.

Federal court documents say Martin had to surrender his passport to prevent travel, and post a property bond with property owned by his parents.  Mugridge says the seriousness of the property bond means Martin could face a heavy financial penalty for not showing up to his court dates.

“This is their (the court’s) way of absolutely guaranteeing his presence in court,” Mugridge said.

Martin also faces additional federal charges for allegedly possessing a firearm after facing a domestic violence charge. A separate court document says weapons were found in a Madera home where Martin was living when he was arrested on Sept. 2 for the Capitol insurrection charges. The document states that Martin should not have been in possession of firearms after a domestic violence charge in 2018. Mugridge says this could impact future penalties Martin may have to face.  

“His prior criminal history, if any, will come back and he’ll have to address that.”

Martin is due back in federal court on Sept 22. in Fresno. Martin and his family could not be reached for comment for this story.

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