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South Carolina Insurrection Suspect Finally Loses Gym Pass After Harassing Estranged Wife For Months
They just don’t think the law applies to them.
William Robert Norwood III from Greer, South Carolina, attended the January 6 insurrection disguised as an “antifa” activist. He boasted in a group text that "I'm dressing in all black ... I'll look just like antifa. I'll get away with anything.”
He did not get away with anything. A relative shared screenshots of Norwood's text confessions to assaulting police officers and storming the Capitol. He faces federal charges of "violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, obstruction of justice and Congress, theft of government property and other counts.”
Norwood's accused of leading a group into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and ransacking the place. The antifa cosplayer reportedly filmed his own personal footage of the insurrection from Pelosi’s office balcony. The FBI agents who arrested him discovered a Capitol Police riot shield and helmet in Norwood’s storage unit. He claimed he picked up these trophies from a pile outside the Capitol.
In jail briefly after his arrest, Norwood was released to home detention (sort of like the rest of us during the pandemic). He was ordered not to contact his wife, who was reportedly with him at the insurrection. They had separated before his February 2021 arrest.
Not surprisingly, Norwood doesn’t believe the law applies to him. Violating the judge’s order, he frequently phoned his estranged wife and sent her more 5,000 text messages after he was released on bond, according to Justice Department lawyers. He reportedly asked his wife to invoke “spousal privilege” so she wouldn’t testify against him. Look, she’s probably seen an episode or two of “Law & Order” in her life. She knows how spousal privilege works. If he has to ask her not to testify, it’s probably already his ass.
“Norwood’s messages to his estranged wife are harassing, abusive, petulant, and occasionally threatening,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.
Wait, the lawyers described the messages as “petulant,” as in "childishly sulky or bad-tempered”? They'd set the right tone with “harassing” and “abusive” before lowering the stakes.
Norwood didn’t deny contacting his wife and knows it was a violation of his bond conditions, his appointed attorney, Lora Blanchard, said in the hearing.
She said he and his wife are going through a difficult separation and many of the messages were sent out of frustration as they sought a divorce.
What makes the couple’s separation “difficult” is that Norwood won’t leave his wife alone. Norwood testified that a divorce attorney wasn’t able to help him — probably because divorce attorneys aren’t marriage counselors — so “we were trying to handle it with each other.”
But a sample of messages Norwood sent show he repeatedly threatened to go to the authorities with potential criminal information about her, used abusive language and tried to talk her out of testifying against him.
Norwood was both stalking his wife and intimidating a witness. His court-appointed counsel should’ve provided a brief checklist of laws to avoid breaking during home detention. He was already charged with one count of witness tampering. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though January 6 defendants have received relatively light sentences so far.
Now, this is interesting: Norwood was granted an exemption in April 2021 from his home detention so he could go to the gym and presumably spread COVID-19. The judge should’ve told him to buy a Peloton and keep his ass at home. I know South Carolina had an overall “ignore COVID” policy, but it’s still astonishing that an insurrection suspect would receive a home detention exemption when kids were still attending school remotely.
Norwood skipped the gym — disappointing his personal trainer, I guess — and used that time to meet with his wife. She repeatedly demanded that he stop contacting her and went so far as to his inform his government authorized supervisor, who was also his mother.
“Please have your son stop,” she wrote Oct. 1, 2021. “This is 3 weeks in a row I’ve been asking him to stop. I’m going to have to say something to the judge. He won’t stop.”
Months later, a federal judge has finally revoked Norwood’s bond. After a hearing Monday at the Greenville Federal Courthouse, he was headed to jail in Washington DC. His trial is set for this summer.
[ Post and Courier ]
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