The morning of January 21st, 2021, I woke up at 3AM.
For some reason, I felt uneasy. Uncharacteristically, I felt the need to read the Bible, and after reading a few passages, spent the next 2 hours praying. Eventually I realized I wasn’t going back to sleep, so I decided to take a walk.
It was a cold night, but there is a magic to early morning strolls, especially in the winter. The streets are bare, the air is crisp. I suited up for the frost, and once out the door called a friend in Europe; we spoke at length about what we could expect now that there had been a changing of the guard in the Oval Office.
Around 7AM, our call was interrupted by my wife. She was crying.
“The FBI is here. They want to know where you are.”
I told her I was on a walk in town. The agent came on the phone. He was agitated.
“Where are you? Why aren’t you at your house?”
“I took a walk,” I replied. “I’m on my way home now.”
“We will get you.” he responded. “Give me your location.”
I told them and walked a block to the nearby busy street to facilitate pick up. Within a minute a local police car sped towards me, screeching to a halt next to me.
“Keep your hands where we can see them!”
They were apprehensive, but I was calm and polite, and asked them what they needed me to do. Within a few seconds, they realized that I was not going to cause them any trouble, and they relaxed.
“Thank you for cooperating. You’ve treated us with respect, so we will treat you with respect.”
They took my jacket and coffee travel mug, and cuffed me to drive me the mile to my house.
When I arrived at the house, I came upon a surreal scene. The street was filled with police and unmarked black FBI cars.
Apparently, I had caused quite the stir not being at home. They assumed I had somehow been tipped off and was fleeing arrest. The whole county had been mobilized to search for me.
While I understand where they were coming from, for me at the time this was perplexing. I regularly took early morning walks; it was not unusual behavior — and I had a month old baby. Even if I did know the feds were coming for me, leaving would have been an absurd proposition, and even without a wife and kid completely out of my character. Moreover, I genuinely had no idea that I would be arrested, because I didn’t know what I had done that would warrant arresting.
Local police handed me off to the FBI. They took me inside my house.
They asked me some questions. I don’t recall most of them. They had already gotten their “evidence” (my computer and Trump sweater) before I arrived, and now they had my phone, so there wasn’t much else to ask about. Their main question was whether I possessed any firearms. I reassured them I did not. Nevertheless, they searched the seat cushions before they let me sit down.
Most of what I remember from this moment is being cuffed in my living room, staring at the pale, terrified faces of my wife and parents, while FBI agents swarmed throughout the house, taking photos.
Despite all the horror stories that we have heard about the FBI, however, including with other January 6th defendants (where doors were kicked down and the house trashed), they were very respectful to me and my family. When I finally left, they covered my cuffed arms with a jacket so as to avoid embarrassing me (a kind gesture, but good luck being discreet with the cop cars all down the street!).
I give credit to the lead agent for this treatment. Apparently, when I was not there one of the agents began getting aggressive with my wife, who I will remind you was a month postpartum, taking care of an infant. The lead agent saw this and kicked him out of the house.
After they got what they needed, we drove to the local FBI field office for processing.
I won’t bore you with all the details here. Most of the day was me stuck in a room cuffed to a chair, as we waited for a judge to have availability to process me. This took easily 5-6 hours. The lead agent tried multiple times to offer me food, but I wasn’t hungry, and frankly felt like now would be a good time to fast.
Nobody said anything of course, but I think they were embarrassed. At one point he pointed to a wall with pictures of the FBI’s most wanted criminals: “at least you’re not one of these guys,” he said. When time came for the hearing, the FBI strongly recommended my release pending trial.
But the prosecution had different marching orders. With CNN listening on the line, they declared me a “dangerous insurrectionist” (note: nobody has been charged with “insurrection”) that was a threat to the community and a flight-risk, who should therefore be incarcerated pre-trial.
Thankfully, my family had gotten me a top-notch lawyer during my arraignment, and the local NJ judge was fair: my lack of firearms, lack of criminal record, lack of motive or history of “harming my community,” productive value to society, willingness to surrender my passport, and fact that I had only been charged with non-violent misdemeanors did not justify pre-trial incarceration. I was granted unsecured bond and restricted to local districts, simply needed to inform pretrial services if I was going outside them.
Soon thereafter I was released. My father picked me up at the field office. He looked old and grey, like the life had been drained from him. I felt a surge of guilt. I realized that while I could handle this, perhaps my family couldn’t. “This is going to kill my father,” echoed in my mind.
That night at dinner I cried deep, uncontrollable tears. The impact of what had not only just happened to me, but to the country began to sink in. My arrest warrant had been signed by President Biden the day before about 3 hours after his inauguration. One of his first decisions had been to arrest his political opponents. The grief was not for myself, and not even for my family. But for the United States of America I knew and loved.
In 2013 and 2014, I threw birthday parties, the first at a bar, the second at my house. I had nearly 200 people show up to the bar, and 100 a year later at my house. I had scores of good friends and countless others who liked me and wanted to spend time with me. When I got married in Poland the summer of 2015, 70 people spent the not-insignificant money and vacation time to fly out. After years of work building up a social circle, I was indisputably cool: I had made it.
I lost 80% of these friends supporting Trump in the 2016 election. Friends I had lived with and known since I was 10 didn’t invite me to their weddings.
But all of that paled in comparison to what occurred after my arrest in 2021. Classmates and family members informed the FBI on me. I was disinvited from family gatherings. My father and I were kicked out of the wine group he founded 40 years ago. As I write this in 2023, only two friends from my life before 2016 have wanted to keep in contact with me: one from childhood, one from college. Two people out of 200. I cannot look at my wedding videos; nearly none of the people I see are people I speak to anymore.
Over the following weeks and months I would be smeared in the media, and dealt with near daily insults and threats from trolls online, along with occasional calls to our house. I was banned from Airbnb, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, PayPal, Venmo, and my bank PNC. My wife (who was not even in DC that day) was banned from most of these as well, and was at one point detained and interrogated at the airport. My Twitter account was siloed; until Elon Musk’s purchase my number of followers essentially locked. The cost to my business from this censorship was immense, but nevertheless I am grateful I wasn’t “un-personed” entirely. I believe the only reason this account wasn’t banned was so that I could continue to be monitored.
Last night the feds held my wife for over an hour at the airport – tore apart her luggage, confiscated her phone, and then proceeded to interrogate her about "what she meant" in private text messages
She has committed no crimes. I am charged with a trespassing misdemeanor.
— Pat Stedman | Dating & Relationship Coach for Men (@Pat_Stedman) April 29, 2021
That spring, I was charged with a superseding indictment: two more misdemeanors, and a felony (all non-violent and non-destructive in nature). The felony, 1512 “Obstruction of an Official Proceeding” has become legally controversial, due to (among other issues) the constitutional implications of using it against protestors, questions whether the syntax supports its current application, and whether its application is at odds with the broader context of what the law was designed to accomplish; it was introduced during Enron years to deal with document destruction. It has never been used to indict people in this capacity before. One judge in DC rejected the government’s usage of it, which sent the issue to the appeals court; after many months of waiting, just yesterday they ruled 2-1 in favor of allowing the government to use the law, however, none of the three judges agreed with each other in the details of how. It is almost certain the issue will continue to the Supreme Court, if they decide to hear it. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Most J6 defendants who have been convicted have been sentenced to 4-5 years.
I haven’t talked much about any of this online, not because I was hiding from it, but because it’s seemed pointless to bring it up. Perhaps this is self-centered, but I’ve simply assumed everybody already knew I was arrested because it was so public; if you search my name you will see a million media pieces on it. Why bring it more attention, when I have more important things to say about dating and relationships?
Moreover, the legal system grinds slowly, and there have been extra delays in January 6th cases due to the enormous amount of discovery production and legal wrangling. It’s been over 2 years since my arrest, and while this has been hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles, I’ve refused to let it hold me back. I’ve been grateful to be free and relatively prosperous, unlike so many others in my situation. Even if I’ve been limited to New Jersey, I’ve moved forward with my life as best as I can — including welcoming baby #2 this past fall.
Please welcome my first son, Michael Alonzo Stedman to this world.
Another fast labor – 2.5 hours in total. My wife is incredible. pic.twitter.com/qS8zGvSlGf
— Pat Stedman | Dating & Relationship Coach for Men (@Pat_Stedman) November 13, 2022
But the time of waiting is coming to an end.
On June 5th — my 35th birthday as fate would have it — I will be going to trial. If I am convicted of the felony, I can expect the same sentence as other J6 defendants — years in prison. If I am convicted of any misdemeanors, there is a much greater range of outcomes, from a couple months in prison to fines and probation.
I reaffirm my innocence and not-guilty plea against these charges. And I am very confident of exoneration in court – even aside from having the facts on our side, I have received more positive omens and spiritual confirmations at this point than my family and I can count.
But in order to beat these charges, I will need your help.
My defense is going to cost anywhere from $180,000-200,000 in total. This is an enormous sum of money for me, and while I may be able to manage it myself, should the worst case scenario occur, this would leave my wife and two children in difficult straights, as I am the primary breadwinner. This is more stressful to me than the trial or anything that could possibly occur to me personally.
If so inclined, you can help me in the following ways:
Zelle: [email protected]
Bank Wire or Shitcoins (message me privately for information)
Purchasing my 18+ hour masterclass. This is a way to help me and get something for yourself; the masterclass is fully deducted from coaching.
And finally, you can work with me. “But Pat, isn’t that risky if you go to prison?” Depends on how you look at it. In the event of a long absence, I am committed to giving all clients with open contracts pro-rated refunds if they would like them (I am setting aside funds for this). So there is no risk from that perspective.
If you think, however, that it makes more sense to wait until after my exoneration, I totally understand. And the door will be open to you.
But there are some things you should consider before you make that decision:
First, I will be raising prices after my trial. Significantly. So do not expect the same rates.
Second, if you really wanted to work with me rather just some other coach, consider the possibility of me disappearing for years the ultimate scarcity play. You may not always have me; take what time you can get.
Finally, by jumping in now you reap the intangibles of loyalty. I will remember every one of you who helped me now by donating and/or choosing to work with me despite the risks. If you are betting on me long-term — and I think that is a wise decision — this is an opportunity for you to make me loyal to you.
Anyway, that’s all there is for me to say.
I want to thank all my clients and friends who not only chose to associate with me but doubled down despite the bad press. Special shout out in particular to “the crew.” You know who you are, though you may not grasp how much it has meant.
I want to thank my loyal family members and especially my parents for shrugging off the social awkwardness I know at times you might have felt, though never admitted. Thank you for taking us in, cooking us dinner, watching the kids, and making these circumstances as easy as you could for us.
I want to thank my beautiful wife Kate. Rather than move back to Poland like we planned, my situation forced us to stay at my parents house for an additional 2 years, and kept us from your friends and family. You rolled with it and the resulting social alienation, and said you didn’t care “so long as you were with me.” But I know it was hard. The stress would have broken most couples, but it didn’t break us. You define “ride or die.” I love you.
And finally, I want to thank everybody in the Twitter community who showed support for me when I was arrested and it was easy to distance yourselves. Special acknowledgment in particular to Andrew Tate and Garry Grinberg who aggessively spoke out in my defense, and helped me financially when the first legal fees came due. I know you may not like each other, but I appreciate both of you.
All of you have carried me, and whatever the outcome I will never forget it.
PS If you are interested in reading our recent motion to the court, please see below: 20230405 filed PRETRIAL MTNS BRF – dft Stedman