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UPDATE, Dec. 16, 6:30 p.m. ET: Baker announced Saturday that his self-surrender — originally set for Tuesday, Dec. 19 — has been postponed until after Christmas:
Original story below
Blaze Media investigative journalist Steve Baker on Thursday said the U.S. Department of Justice will be charging him for his Jan. 6 reporting.
"My attorney has just been notified by @FBI that I am going to be charged by @TheJusticeDept for my journalistic efforts on #Jan6," Baker wrote Thursday on X. "I have to self-surrender on Tuesday. Charges are yet unknown. Stay tuned for more information to follow this afternoon."
What are the details?
Baker on Thursday told Blaze Media that FBI Special Agent Craig Noyes contacted his attorney in North Carolina and that Noyes said he doesn't know what the charges are — and won't know until the judge signs off on the warrant.
Baker also told Blaze Media that if the Justice Department goes forward with charges, travel restrictions will be placed on him, which will hamper his reporting, as he's based in North Carolina but works a great deal in Washington, D.C., covering trials, viewing Jan. 6 videos, and speaking face-to-face with elected officials.
Given Baker has been writing Blaze Media investigative stories on Jan. 6 since early October, Baker said he "cannot help but think the timing [of the impending charges] is suspect."
Blaze Media's editor in chief, Matthew Peterson, spoke out Thursday regarding the message Baker said the FBI delivered to his attorney.
What's the background?
In them, Baker said he'd been under federal investigation for the better part of two years following his independent journalistic work on Jan. 6, which began before he joined Blaze Media.
More from Baker's first commentary:
I made no effort to hide what I was doing on January 6. I did two different interviews that same day with WUSA, a CBS News affiliate in Washington, D.C. I also uploaded a short YouTube video commentary later that same evening.
Upon returning to my home in Raleigh, North Carolina, I socked myself away for five days, doing a frame-by-frame analysis of my own videos. I then wrote and published on January 13, 2021, a 9,500-word opus to my blog detailing what I experienced that day, titled, “What I Saw on January 6th in Washington, D.C.”
That piece, and a February 24, 2021, follow-up, “Who was ‘Up the Chain’ on January 6?” has been viewed and read by hundreds of thousands of readers on my blog and various social media pages.
I always expected that I would be contacted by the FBI at some point, at the very least to acquire my videos for the bureau's investigations. 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.
After the FBI made initial contact with Baker in July 2021, Baker said he and his attorney met in person with FBI Special Agents Gerrit Doss and Craig Noyes in North Carolina on Oct. 18, 2021. At the conclusion of the interview, Baker said he and his attorney volunteered to turn over Baker's Jan. 6 videos, but nothing came of that.
Baker said his attorney got a Nov. 17, 2021, email from assistant U.S. attorney Anita Eve saying that Baker could expect to be "charged within the week" — and that the charges would be interstate racketeering and property damage, which Baker said were bogus. With that, Baker said he and his attorney informed the media that he — an independent journalist — was being prosecuted for his coverage of Jan. 6.
Eve was forwarded a copy of Baker's press release, telling his attorney that she was "not thrilled" with it. His attorney replied, “Mr. Baker is obviously feeling threatened by the charges and is using his First Amendment right to garner support. ... Are you suggesting that he refrain from making further statements? ... He has nothing to hide. But he does have a right to speak truthfully about his experiences and share his opinions. ... It’s not fair to ask him to be silent while he endures federal prosecution.” His attorney again volunteered to turn over Baker's Jan. 6 videos.
Despite the threat of charges "within the week," Baker said he didn't hear from Eve's office for nearly two years — and in August 2023, his attorney accepted service of a grand jury subpoena, signed by Eve, for all the Jan. 6 videos Baker personally recorded.
Baker wrote in his second commentary that "grand juries generally are not convened for misdemeanor offenses but rather for felony charges." Curiously, he added that renewed interest from the Justice Department coincided perfectly with his discussions with Blaze Media to become a contributing investigative journalist and columnist.
As Baker told Blaze Media on Thursday, he'd been "poking the bear rather aggressively."
Later that same August, Baker and his attorney delivered a flash drive containing his videos to FBI Special Agent Noyes.
Baker concluded his second commentary with the following promise: "The truth is, my life hasn’t been destroyed. Yet. But many others have been. I intend to show through my investigations that many lives have been destroyed for no good reason — and that cannot stand."
How are others reacting?
Bradford L. Geyer, an attorney who represented now-imprisoned Oath Keeper Kenneth Harrelson — who Baker said was unjustly accused on Jan. 6 — on Thursday told Blaze Media that "since Jan. 6, few reporters have uncovered as many vital stories as Steve Baker. It sadly seems plausible that the decision to charge him is influenced by his recent reporting and the new stories he's in the process of breaking. If the government believes this will silence him, we predict it will be sadly mistaken. Journalists play a critical role in upholding transparency and informing the public, making it vital for them to operate without undue interference from law enforcement. Providing journalists with protections and a buffer ensures the preservation of a free press, safeguarding the democratic principles of open discourse and accountability. Sadly, it seems that the historical high bar for investigating journalists at the Justice Department has been conspicuously lowered in some cases. Given the stakes, all journalists should rally to Steve Baker’s defense."
Baker's first Jan. 6 analysis came in October, following countless hours in a House subcommittee office looking at frame after frame of Jan. 6 closed-circuit video — and it had him wondering: did the security chief for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi perjure himself in the Oath Keepers trial?
Soon after, the slow pace of getting an unrestricted look at everything recorded on video prompted Blaze Media editor in chief Matthew Peterson's appeal to House Speaker Mike Johnson to release all the videos. On Nov. 17, Johnson did just that.
Baker's investigative efforts also resulted in two additional analyses, both focusing on Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn: "January 6 and the N-word that wasn't" and "Harry Dunn's account of January 6 does not add up. At all."
Just days ago, Baker alleged he uncovered major irregularities involving Dunn, Capitol Police, the press, and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland).
Here's Baker speaking to Glenn Beck, founder of TheBlaze, on Oct. 4 about his first Jan. 6 investigative story for Blaze Media:
Pelosi’s Head of Security Likely PERJURED Himself With Jan 6 LIE | Blaze Media EXCLUSIVEyoutu.be
This story has been updated.
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Sr. Editor, News
Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.