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Tallahassee man arrested for inciting violence at the Florida Capitol back in court

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 18:41:39-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The man investigators say was using social media to incite violence at the Florida Capitol on Inauguration Day returned to court Thursday for a virtual hearing.

In a preliminary hearing, three of Baker's friends testified on his behalf. Another wrote a letter advocating for the veteran.

During that hearing Baker's roommate Eric Champagne told the court that after the insurrection on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, he became consumed with what happened.

"The FBI issued a warning about this and he took the FBI warning seriously. He thought he was trying to protect his neighbors from violent people," said Champagne.

While that might have been the case, an arrest affidavit says Baker was under the FBI's watch even before Jan. 6.

In October, FBI agents began tracking his social media about attacks on law enforcement according to arrest documents.

In court testimony, FBI agent Patrick Sanford said other branches of the bureau contacted the North Florida branch when Baker moved back to Tallahassee.

FBI agents arrested Daniel Baker on Jan. 15. Court documents say his social media accounts encouraged people to join him in violently confronting protesters at the Florida Capitol on Inauguration Day.

Desiree Gattis said she has known Daniel Baker for close to ten years. Gattis said she often works with the homeless and met Baker while he was homeless. She said after a while, she even invited him to stay in her backyard.

"He's a soft-spoken, kind, generally concerned about everybody kind of person," said Gattis.

Baker's roommate said the two met online. Champagne says he and Baker left Nashville for Seattle over the summer of 2020.

Champagne said they spent a couple of weeks there during protests. He claimed they went to provide aid and support. Still, law enforcement put a watchful eye on the man.

"He knew that they were watching him and they were scraping every word with a fine-tooth comb," said Champagne.

The duo's landlord also testified in court. Suzanna Matthews said Baker is one of the best tenants she's ever rented to.

The 80-year-old blind woman said she felt comfortable with Baker as her neighbor because she felt he would take care of her if any problems came about.

"He cleaned the gutters. He and Eric cleaned out my old storage room," said Matthews.

Federal prosecutors still argue that Baker is a danger to the community. They said because of his social media accounts and calls to incite violence, he should remain in jail while awaiting trial.

A federal judge will rule on whether he is released or not before the end of the week.