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

  • By Dan Nephin/LNP | LancasterOnline
Samuel Lazar, No. 275 on the FBI Capitol Suspect list, appears here dressed in a camouflage flak jacket and black face paint and yelling into a bullhorn at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Online sleuths used his unique outfit to identify him in multiple videos where he appears to commit violent acts.

 FBI Charging Documents

Samuel Lazar, No. 275 on the FBI Capitol Suspect list, appears here dressed in a camouflage flak jacket and black face paint and yelling into a bullhorn at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Online sleuths used his unique outfit to identify him in multiple videos where he appears to commit violent acts.

This story is published in partnership with our sister newsroom LNP | LancasterOnline. For more coverage, click here.

Nearly two years after his arrest for his actions on Jan. 6 outside the U.S. Capitol, Samuel Lazar is out of federal prison.

As has been the case since March 17, when an NBC reporter spotted Lazar’s mother and sister at the Washington federal courthouse, mystery continues to surround the Ephrata man’s criminal case.

NBC reported Lazar was scheduled to be sentenced that day, citing “a source familiar with the proceedings.”

But Lazar’s federal docket remains sealed. If Lazar pleaded in his case, or if charges of assault and obstruction-related crimes were otherwise resolved, the public record does not show it.

As of Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons website indicated Lazar was being held at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey, a low security-prison. On Wednesday, it showed he was at a residential reentry management facility in Philadelphia. His release date still shows Sept. 13.

But nine photographs posted by his sister, Rebeca Lazar, on her Facebook page early Wednesday morning show a smiling Samuel wearing a white T-shirt and blue shorts and waving an American flag on a silver metal pole topped by an eagle.

The photos are in a parking lot. A chain link fence topped with razor wire can be seen in some of them.

Other photos in the series show Lazar with his sister and his older brother, Adorian Lazar, and another man. In some photos, Samuel Lazar is eating a cookie in a car. In others, he is eating a sandwich at a Wawa.

“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.

The pictures stood in sharp contrast to photos and videos of Lazar on Jan. 6, 2021.

Those images show a camouflaged Lazar pepper-spraying police and encouraging violence during the riot outside the Capitol.

Lazar, 37, was arrested at his Ephrata apartment on July 26, 2021, and charged with assault and obstruction-related crimes. He had been in federal custody since.

Efforts to reach Samuel Lazar were not immediately successful. Adorian Lazar, who has acted as family spokesman, said he was very busy, but would call LNP | LancasterOnline later.

Hope LeFeber, one of Samuel Lazar’s attorneys, said she was unaware he was out and hadn’t talked to him. She declined to comment on why the case had been sealed.

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

A bureau of prisons spokesman confirmed Lazar was transferred Tuesday to community confinement overseen by its residential reentry management office. Community confinement means Lazar is either in home confinement or a residential reentry center, commonly known as a halfway house.

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.


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