Jesus Christ Superstar performer arrested over January 6 riots
Jesus Christ Superstar performer who played Judas is arrested over January 6 riots after FBI went to watch him perform multiple times to ensure they had the right man
- James D. Beeks, 49, was arrested Tuesday in Milwaukee during a stop on the tour
- Federal agents observed Beeks performing in multiple productions of the play earlier this month during an exhaustive investigation to confirm his identity
- During their probe into the Florida actor, federal agents poured over a trove of photos from the day of the DC riots, identifying a man bearing Beeks’ likeness
- He was part of a group of Oath Keepers, a far-right group that he paid dues to
- Photos show the man believed to be Beeks donning a black helmet and a shield as he and other Oath Keeper members stormed the Capitol on January 6
- He has since been suspended from the tour and replaced with an understudy
A Broadway actor currently playing Judas in a national tour of Jesus Christ Superstar was arrested Tuesday for allegedly taking part in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, after federal agents conducted a sprawling investigation on the performer and attended several productions of the play to ensure they had the right man.
James Delisco Beeks, 49, was arrested Tuesday in Milwaukee – where the musical was set to kick off an eight-show engagement – on a felony count of obstruction of Congress and a misdemeanor count of unlawfully entering a restricted building, a criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice last week revealed.
The actor, who goes by the stage name James Justis, was part of a mob that attacked law enforcement, according to the Justice Department. Records show he paid dues to the far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers group in December.
According to the complaint, law enforcement officers identified Beeks, who also performs as a Michael Jackson impersonator, after conducting a lengthy investigation where they matched a Michael Jackson ‘Bad’ world tour jacket he wore to the riot with photos from his social media accounts.
The filing further reveals that federal agents attended multiple productions of the play earlier this month, in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where they ‘observed’ Beeks to help confirm his identity.
James Delisco Beeks, 49, was arrested Tuesday in Milwaukee after federal agents conducted a sprawling investigation on the performer
A criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice reveals that federal agents ‘observed’ Beeks performing in multiple productions of the popular play earlier this month to help confirm his identity
During their probe into the Florida actor, federal agents also poured over a trove of photos from the day of the DC riots, identifying a man bearing Beeks’ likeness in multiple shots.
In one such photograph, a man believed to be Beeks can be seen storming the Capitol with a horde of Oath Keeper members, while others show the actor inside the federal building’s sacred Rotunda.
Officials were not able to locate a photograph or video of Beeks at the Capitol with his full face visible due to his helmet and mask, but were able to make a comparison during their investigation based on his visible ear in a photo captured during the riots.
In the photograph, Beeks’ right ear while at the Capitol appears similar to the same ear seen in a video on Beeks’ YouTube page.
Beeks, who lives in Orlando, made his initial court appearance at the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He was released pending further court proceedings.
He has since been suspended from Jesus Christ Superstar, which is set to tour through August 2022. His role has been given to an understudy, a tour spokesman told DailyMail.com.
Beeks can be seen in this photograph marching towards the Capitol with other Oath Keeper members, an official filing from the Justice Department alleges
Surveillance video from inside the Capitol shows several Oath Keeper members inside the Capitol shortly after breaching the federal building. Beeks can be seen in the center, near a number of other coconspirators, a complaint filed last week by the Justice Department alleges
Surveillance video from inside the Capitol Rotunda shows a man, indicated by the red arrows, believed to be Beeks
Surveillance video from inside the Capitol building depicts a man thought to be Beeks by federal investigators holding up a cell phone as if to capture photos or video during the attack
Officials were not able to locate a photograph or video of Beeks at the Capitol with his full face visible due to his helmet and mask, but were able to make a comparison during their investigation based on his visible ear in a photo captured during the riots. In the photograph, Beeks’ right ear while at the Capitol appears similar to the same ear seen in a video on Beeks’s YouTube page
Beeks (red arrow) wore a helmet and a Michael Jackson ‘BAD’ world tour jacket, prosecutors say, though they did not charge him with any specific acts of violence
Prosecutors say officers matched the Michael Jackson ‘Bad’ jacket he wore to the riot with the above photo, taken from social media
The actor currently plays Judas in the US tour of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar
Prosecutors say Beeks was part of a ‘stack’ formation of Oath Keepers that pushed into the Capitol grounds
He also carried a homemade shield that he told someone at the riot was ‘bulletproof’
‘The touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar confirmed that James Beeks (aka James T. Justis) is suspended indefinitely from the company pending the outcome of the hearing,’ tour spokesman DJ Martin told DailyMail.com in an emailed statement.
‘The production is fully cooperating with authorities during the ongoing investigation.’
Beeks has performed on Broadway in Kinky Boots, Aida, Ragtime and Smokey Joe’s Cafe, according to IBDB.
Beeks was partially ID’d by his unique Michael Jackson ‘Bad’ tour jacket
On January 6, Beeks joined a group of Oath Keepers while walking from the Ellipse, a park south of the White House where President Donald Trump held a ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, the DOJ says.
At the rally, Trump urged his supporters: ‘We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’
Former Trump ally Chris Christie has since said that Trump ‘incited’ the riot with his words and actions leading up to it.
According to court documents, Beeks joined others objecting to Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory over former Republican President Donald Trump. A mob then attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying election results, authorities said.
Five people died in the violence, including demonstrator Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by an officer who was trying to keep the crowd out of the building.
At one point during the attack, a group of Oath Keeper members and affiliates marched in ‘stack’ formation into the Capitol grounds and then up the east steps to the area outside of the Rotunda doors.
Beeks was part of a mob of people that included some who attacked law enforcement, prosecutors said, though they did not pin any specific instances of violence on Beeks.
Beeks joined a group of Oath Keepers while walking Trump’s Stop the Steal rally to the Capitol, prosecutors say. Trump, above, told his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ during his speech
The doors were eventually breached, and the group stormed in.
Once inside the Capitol, the group split up. Half of them, including Beeks, tried to push their way through a line of law enforcement officers guarding a hallway that led to the Senate chamber, officials said.
Law enforcement forcibly repelled their advance. Beeks and others with him regrouped in the Rotunda and then left the building.
Unlike the camouflage-combat attire of many in the group, Beeks was wearing a Michael Jackson ‘BAD’ world tour jacket and a black helmet. He was carrying what appeared to be a homemade black shield, which he said at the riot was ‘bulletproof,’ and was wearing a commercially available body-worn camera on his neck, officials said.
One person interviewed by law enforcement said Beeks barely took down his green neck gaiter, so he didn’t get a chance to see his face.
Prosecutors note that officers identified Beeks in part by matching the Michael Jackson ‘Bad’ jacket he wore to the Capitol attack with a photo he posted of himself wearing it on social media.
Beeks has posted about his time on the touring cast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical
It is unclear if Beeks will continue to perform on Jesus Christ Superstar. He’s gotten stellar reviews so far, with one paper calling him the ‘powerhouse vocalist of your Broadway dreams’
The 49-year-old actor (right) lives in Orlando and was arrested in Milwaukee during a tour stop
Beeks was part of the tour cast of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar, a rock opera loosely based on the last week of Jesus’ life.
Law enforcement saw him perform in San Francisco and Los Angeles this month as part of their investigation. Photos from social media show Beeks rehearsing and attending opening nights.
The musical and Beeks’ performance have drawn rave reviews, with the Louisville Courier Journal calling him a ‘powerhouse vocalist of your Broadway dreams’ whose performance is ‘raw and emotional.’
Someone said Beeks rarely took his neck gaiter down during the riot, where prosecutors say he was part of a mob that included people who attacked officers. Five people died from the riot
The mob of Trump supporters was hoping to breach Congress and stop lawmakers from certifying 2020 election results in favor of President Joe Biden
A review published on November 10 by the Orange County Register calls Beeks an ‘impactful, if nervous, tour guide’ whose ‘singing satisfied with his upper range.’
The show is still scheduled for seven more performances at the Marcus Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee. The tour runs through August 2022. Beeks’ role was given to his understudy, Eric A. Lewis, starting Tuesday.
Online court records didn’t list an attorney for Beeks.
Since January 6, more than 675 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, officials said. More than 210 people have been charge with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
Beeks’ case is being prosecuted in Washington federal court.
Source: Read Full Article