Ephrata Jan. 6 defendant Samuel Lazar out of federal prison; mystery surrounds case

Nearly two years after his arrest for his actions on Jan. 6 outside the U.S. Capitol, Samuel Lazar has been released from federal prison to a halfway house in Philadelphia.

Lazar, 37, was arrested at his Ephrata apartment on July 26, 2021, and is charged with obstruction and assault-related charges. His release came to light via a post on his sister’s Facebook page.

Video footage from Jan. 6 shows Lazar spraying police with pepper spray, taunting them and urging others to “take their guns.” 

Lazar’s appearance that day — camouflage face-paint, goggles and tactical vest — earned him the hashtag #facepaintblowhard by online vigilantes who have been working to identify people sought by the FBI.

The circumstances leading to the resolution of Lazar’s prosecution remain a mystery. The federal court docket contains no information about a plea agreement or sentencing. A federal judge in May declined a request by media organizations to unseal any parts of the docket that may be sealed.

Patty Hartman, spokesperson for the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office, said she was unable to provide further information because Lazar’s case is sealed. 

‘Wisened up’

Rebeca Lazar posted a series of nine photographs early Wednesday showing a smiling Samuel Lazar wearing a white T-shirt, blue shorts, white socks and white Nikes and waving an American flag on a silver metal pole topped by a silver eagle.

The photos were taken in daylight in a parking lot. A chain link fence topped with razor wire can be seen in some of them, suggesting the pictures were taken outside the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the minimum-security prison where he’d been held since the spring.

“What an emotional/amazing day it was! I finally got to pick up my little brother. The smile on his face(,) the gratitude in his heart melted all of our suffering away over these last 2 years. My brother is overwhelmed and overjoyed,” Rebeca Lazar posted.

Samuel’s older brother, Adorian Lazar, who has acted as a family spokesperson, said his sister called him around 7 a.m. Tuesday and told him to go to a Philadelphia McDonald’s, where he’d be able to see Samuel.

“I got to see him for 10 lousy minutes,” Adorian Lazar said Wednesday afternoon. It was the first time he’d seen his brother in two years, he said. “He swallowed a sandwich and then he was gone.”

It was a Big Mac. “And he’s not one for junk food, which is irony,” Adorian Lazar said.

Adorian Lazar said his brother did not speak with him about his case, but seemed upbeat.

Adorian Lazar said he could tell his brother is not the same person he was two years ago. 

“All that bravado — Well, let’s put it this way: I think he’s wisened up. All that hysteria of that day that got him into this (expletive)? That’s gone,” Adorian Lazar said. “… Does he recognize the error of his ways? I got a feeling, he sure as hell does.”

As for the flag-waving, Adorian said whatever his brother’s outward persona, “at his core, he’s always been a patriot.”

Other photos posted on Rebeca Lazar’s Facebook page show Samuel Lazar in a car eating a cookie with red, white and blue sprinkles, getting a coffee and eating a sandwich at a Wawa. Samuel also poses with Adorian, her and her fiance.

These last 2 years have been very very tough(,) however it taught us all a lot and the lessons have been immensely valuable. Here’s to new beginnings and a fresh new start,” Rebeca Lazar wrote in the Facebook post. She also thanked God and supporters of her brother and her family.

30-month sentence?

Lazar’s attorney Hope LeFeber said she was unaware her client had been released from federal custody. She declined to comment on why the case is sealed.

Lawrence F. Stengel, who served 14 years as a U.S. District Court judge — and his final year as chief judge previously told LNP that court records are open unless there is a compelling reason to seal them. Examples of compelling reasons are the safety of a defendant or another person or the defendant may be cooperating, he said.

Lazar’s release date on the bureau of prison site shows Sept. 13. 

In the federal prison system, inmates generally serve about 85% of their sentence in a prison and the rest under community confinement.

If that is applicable in Lazar’s case, the time he’s spent incarcerated points to a sentence of 30 months. 

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