Coming to a theater near you, a real, live Capitol insurrectionist.
Or, at least, one was coming to a theater near you until his arrest yesterday for his involvement in the January 6 coup attempt cut short his tenure in a touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
And in an unbelievably on-the-nose twist, he played the role of Judas. You know, the traitor who betrays Jesus?
Yes, this is real life and no, this is not a joke.
Forty-nine year old James Beeks, an Orlando, Florida musical theater actor and Michael Jackson impersonator who performs under the name James T. Justis, was arrested yesterday in Milwaukee for joining far-right, anti-government militia group Oath Keepers in their siege of the Capitol, according to Justice Department filings.
Federal agents had been trying to identify Beeks for months, who heavily disguised his face on January 6 with a helmet and gaiter, likely because of his extensive musical theater resume that includes Kinky Boots, Aida, Ragtime and Smokey Joe's Cafe.
But the distinctive jacket Beeks wore to the insurrection, from Michael Jackson's 1987 BAD Tour, made him stand out in video footage that showed a group of Oath Keepers attacking law enforcement officers before storming into the Capitol. Once inside, Beeks and the group attacked another phalanx of law enforcement officers in an attempt to enter the Senate chamber.
A fellow Oath Keeper and insurrectionist known as "Defendant 4" remembered Beeks as the man in the tour jacket. Agents then corroborated Defendant 4's information using everything from cell phone data and rental car records to the look of Beeks' right ear in images from January 6, all of which placed him in the D.C. area and at the Capitol on and around January 6.
Banking records also showed Beeks had paid dues on December 20, 2020 to Oath Keepers, whose leadership has just been subpoenaed by Congress's January 6 Commission for its outsized role in the insurrection.
Agents then attended several of Beeks' Superstar performances in Los Angeles and San Francisco to further observe him before following the tour to its next stop in Milwaukee, where they arrested Beeks. He's been charged with felony obstruction of Congress,and a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds.
On Twitter, the absurdity of this story had people slack-jawed.
Beeks is only the latest of several Oath Keepers members to be arrested and charged for their role in the January 6 coup attempt, and leadership of the organization has recently been subpoenaed by Congress's January 6 Commission.