Long ruled for Betts’s release, citing his past employment and clean criminal record. Betts was then transferred to the Champaign County Satellite Jail, where he could be released on a $100,000 state bond. An activist group had already volunteered to pay it.

But the next day, after U.S. attorneys filed an emergency motion appealing Betts’s release, District Judge Michael Mihm overruled Long’s decision and ordered Betts detained until trial.

Today, Betts remains on a federal hold in a jail where at least 16 detainees have contracted Covid-19 since May; he is diabetic and asthmatic and worries about being exposed to the virus. Before being jailed, he was a committed vegetarian, but the lack of healthy options forced him to start eating meat again.

Betts’s trial is scheduled for November, but it could be postponed due to Covid-19 closures. In August, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit curtly denied his lawyer’s appeal of Mihm’s order of detention. On October 1, Pollock filed a motion to dismiss his indictment, citing constitutional challenges to the federal riot statute under which Betts is charged.

Like many of the other protest-related cases reviewed by The Intercept and Type Investigations, Betts’s case elicited fierce and polarizing opinions in his community as the Trump campaign stoked fears of unrest. After the local press picked up his case, several people sent angry emails to his former employer, demanding that the camp publicly denounce him.

For Betts, the experience has been as perplexing as it has been difficult. On October 4, he turned 20; his family tried sending him extra funds for his birthday, but he says he had trouble receiving them through the jail’s commissary.

“I wouldn’t consider myself as a dangerous activist,” Betts maintains. “I’m still confused how they could look at me as a threat to the community.”

Research assistance by Nina Zweig and Margot Williams.