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‘Straight Pride’ organizer jailed for alleged role in US Capitol attack freed but banned from protests, travel

"Super Fun Happy America's" Sue Ianni and Mark Sahady (holding sign) marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., as they made their way to the US Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
"Super Fun Happy America's" Sue Ianni and Mark Sahady (holding sign) marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., as they made their way to the US Capitol Building on Jan. 6.JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

Jailed since Tuesday on federal charges related to the attack on the US Capitol, a Malden man — the force behind a controversial group whose motto is “It’s great to be straight” — will be freed but restricted from out-of-state travel and protests, a US magistrate judge ruled Thursday.

Federal prosecutors no longer contested Mark G. Sahady’s release, but the parties were in dispute over the conditions under which the 46-year-old would go free.

During a detention hearing conducted Thursday afternoon via Zoom in US District Court in Massachusetts, US Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal ruled that Sahady could not travel out of state without preapproval from probation officials.

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The defense fought the out-of-state travel ban, as well as restrictions from going to the Massachusetts State House and federal buildings, and from attending protests, demonstrations, and rallies.

The ban and restrictions were government overreach tantamount to Sahady having “his lips taped,” argued his attorney, Rinaldo Del Gallo.

“They don’t want him to protest and engage in First Amendment activity,” Del Gallo said during the proceeding. “They don’t want him to talk about Trump or an election that was not fair.”

Boal disagreed and ruled otherwise, stating that “no one is saying that Mr. Sahady can’t in other ways voice support for Trump.”

The judge told Del Gallo she would reconsider her decision if he submitted a more intelligible, and “less stream-of-consciousness,” motion that adhered to legal formatting rules.

Sahady, an unemployed computer programmer and a US Army veteran who lives with his parents, is rooted in the community and highly unlikely to flee over two misdemeanor charges, Del Gallo told the judge, echoing the motion he wrote calling for his client’s release.

Mark G. Sahady used a megaphone during a Super Happy Fun America rally they called "Peaceful Protest Against Democrat Violence" in Copley Square last October.  (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)
Mark G. Sahady used a megaphone during a Super Happy Fun America rally they called "Peaceful Protest Against Democrat Violence" in Copley Square last October. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff) Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Sahady faces the federal equivalent of trespassing and disorderly conduct charges stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol, which left at least five people dead, including a police officer.

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On a social media site, Sahady described himself as an “American Patriot, Army Veteran, Violator of Social Media Community Standards,” according to court filings.

Sahady’s arrest at his home Tuesday morning coincided with the arrest of Natick Town Meeting Member Suzanne Ianni.

Photographs entered as evidence in the case show Sahady and Ianni inside the Capitol building together. The photos show Sahady wearing a red, white, and blue ball cap and Ianni waving a “Straight Pride” flag.

Sahady and Ianni, 59, are both involved with Super Happy Fun America, which was behind the contentious Straight Pride Parade held in Boston in 2019. The pair organized 11 buses to transport New Englanders to Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 6 melee at the Capitol Building.

In December, Super Happy Fun America tweeted that its members would be headed to Washington “on Jan. 6 to get wild.”

Ianni was freed Tuesday on her own recognizance with the same travel and protest restrictions, but federal prosecutors argued that Sahady posed “a serious risk of obstruction if released” and he was detained.

Sahady also must surrender his passport by Monday, keeping him from traveling out of the country. To meet a firearms restriction, Sahady’s mother will have to surrender a gun she owns. Sahady doesn’t own any firearms, his lawyer said.

Sahady and Ianni each face a maximum sentence of not more than one year in federal prison and a $100,000 fine.

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Tonya Alanez can be reached at tonya.alanez@globe.com or 617-929-1579. Follow her on Twitter @talanez.