State Lawmaker Charged After Livestreaming From Capitol Riot
(Bloomberg) -- A West Virginia lawmaker who livestreamed himself entering the Capitol building during Wednesday’s riot was charged by federal prosecutors in Washington for his role in the siege.
Republican Derrick Evans, who was elected in November, was charged with entering a restricted area, prosecutors said on Friday afternoon. The U.S. also charged Richard Barnett, an Arkansas man who was photographed with his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, accusing him of theft, disorderly conduct and violent entry.
Barnett, 60, entered Pelosi’s office during the siege and took an envelope from her desk, leaving behind a quarter and a hand-written note referring to Pelosi with an obscenity, according to records filed in federal court in Washington.
“The shocking images of Mr. Barnett with his boots up on a desk in the Speaker of the House’s office on Wednesday was repulsive,” said Jeff Rosen, Acting U.S. Attorney General.
The charges against Evans and Barnett are among more than 50 cases the Justice Department has brought against members of the pro-Trump mob that laid siege to the Capitol on Wednesday, smashing windows and sending lawmakers fleeing for safety.
The riot has triggered an expansive national investigation led by an assortment of agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Capitol Police, the U.S. Marshals, the Metropolitan Police Department in
Washington, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington.
At a news conference on Friday, U.S. officials said hundreds of federal law-enforcement agents across three command centers were working on the investigation, scouring video footage and social media posts to identify the perpetrators. All 56 field offices of the FBI are involved.
“The department will spare no resources in our efforts to hold all of these people accountable,” prosecutor Ken Kohl said.
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in June saying it was the policy of the U.S. to prosecute anyone who vandalizes federal property to the maximum extent -- with up to 10 years in prison. But there is no indication the rioters will be charged in accordance with the order, John Banzhaf, a professor of law at George Washington University, said in an emailed statement.
“It appears that most of the rioting insurrectionists will face only minor charges, and may well pay only a small fine without spending any time in prison for their crimes,” Banzhaf said.
Another member of the pro-Trump mob, Lonnie Koffman of Alabama, was arrested after officers discovered a red pickup truck registered in his name that contained 11 Molotov cocktails, two handguns, and an assault rifle, according to court records. The Molotov cocktails included gasoline and homemade napalm. Koffman was charged with possession of a destructive device and carrying a pistol without a license.
In a series of complaints and police affidavits filed in federal court, the Justice Department offered a portrait of the chaos that gripped the Capitol as the rioters surged into the building.
“I observed members of the crowd engage in conduct such as making loud noises, and kicking chairs, throwing an unknown liquid substance at officers, and spraying an unknown substance at officers,” one Capitol Police officer wrote in the charging materials filed in court.
The Justice Department is also investigating the death of a Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was injured while fighting off the rioters and later collapsed when he returned to his division office.
Sicknick was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press. But officials on Friday declined to discuss how Sicknick died or release any details of their investigation.
Sicknick, 42, joined the Capitol Police in 2008 after serving in the New Jersey Air National Guard. A native of South River, New Jersey, he served two tours of duty in the Middle East.
Some internet conspiracy theorists have argued without evidence that the mob at the Capitol was filled with members of Antifa, a loose collective of left-wing activists. But at the press conference on Friday, U.S. officials said they had seen “no indication” that Antifa was involved in the riot.
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