U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
A jacket from Michael Jackson’s tour turned out to be a thriller for federal agents working to identify an alleged riot in the United States Capitol.
Prosecutors said James Beeks, who played Judas in a Jesus Christ Superstar production and also works as a Michael Jackson impersonator, can be seen in photos and videos on Jan. 6 in the jacket, as thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
They said he is affiliated with Oath Keepers, a far-right group involved in the attack. The Oath Keepers wore heavily camouflaged garb, but in images from that day shown in court documents, a man can be seen with them wearing a black jacket with the word “BAD” in bright red lettering.
That’s the name of Michael Jackson’s world tour, which began in 1987.
Law enforcement was already investigating Beeks, a 49-year-old man from Orlando, Florida, after a troublemaker who pleaded guilty told officers that Beeks joined the Oath Keepers as they walked to the Capitol.
Investigators were able to find photos on social media of Beeks wearing what appears to be the same jacket, smiling and posing in front of a poster for a production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Prosecutors said Beeks played Judas in that production under the stage name James T. Justis. He appears to have been replaced in that role, according to a current cast listing on the production’s website, which has removed his page.
There are other signs of Beeks’ enthusiasm for the pop icon: On YouTube, he describes himself as “one of the best Michael Jackson tribute artists,” and his name “jdmoonwalker” seems to be a reference to the famous dance move. of Jackson.
It was not immediately clear whether Beeks had retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He was arrested Tuesday and has been charged with obstruction of Congress and illegally entering a restricted building or land. After making an initial appearance, he was released.
Beeks was part of a mob that formed to force their way to the Capitol, prosecutors said. After entering the building, they said Beeks joined a group that tried to break through a line of law enforcement officers guarding a route to the Senate, but were unable to get past the officers.
Beeks is among the more than 675 people who have been arrested so far for the assault on the Capitol.