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Thirteen charged in federal court following riot at US Capitol
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 01 - 2021

Thirteen individuals, including a suburban Chicago man and the CEO of a data analytics firm who was terminated for his actions, have been charged so far in federal court in the District of Columbia related to crimes committed at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Wednesday, according to the Department of Justice.
In addition to those who have been charged, additional complaints have been submitted and investigations are ongoing, said a statement by the Justice Department. "The lawless destruction of the U.S. Capitol building was an attack against one of our Nation's greatest institutions," said Acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin.
"My office, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, have been expeditiously working and leveraging every resource to identify, arrest, and begin prosecuting these individuals who took part in the brazen criminal acts at the US Capitol.
"We are resolute in our commitment to holding accountable anyone responsible for these disgraceful criminal acts, and to anyone who might be considering engaging in or inciting violence in the coming weeks - know this: you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
"Today's charges are just the beginning of the FBI's ongoing efforts to hold those responsible for the criminal acts of violence and destruction that unfolded during the US Capitol building breach on Jan. 6th," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
"To be clear, what took place that day was not First Amendment-protected activity, but rather an affront on our democracy. The FBI, along with our local, state and federal partners, is committed to ensuring that justice is served. We will continue to aggressively investigate each and every individual who chose to ignore the law and instead incite violence, destroy property, and injure others."
In addition, approximately 40 individuals have been arrested and charged in Superior Court with offenses including, but not limited to, unlawful entry, curfew violations, and firearms-related crimes. The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind, calling anyone with digital material or tips to contact the bureau.
The Chicago firm CEO Bradley Rukstales, of Inverness, was charged Thursday with "knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds."
Rukstales was a CEO of Schaumburg-based tech company Cogensia. A spokesperson for Cogensia said Rukstales was terminated Friday, effective immediately. Joel Schlitz, senior vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Cogensia has been named Acting CEO in the interim.
"This decision was made because Rukstales' actions were inconsistent with the core values of Cogensia. Cogensia condemns what occurred at the US Capitol on Wednesday, and we intend to continue to embrace the values of integrity, diversity and transparency in our business operations, and expect all employees to embrace those values as well," Schlitz said in a statement.
On Thursday night, Rukstales apologized and issued the following statement: "In a moment of extremely poor judgment following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside. I was arrested for the first time in my life and charged with unlawful entry.
My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so. Without qualification and as a peaceful and law-abiding citizen, I condemn the violence and destruction that took place in Washington.
I offer my sincere apologies to the men and women of law enforcement for my indiscretion, and I deeply regret that my actions have brought embarrassment to my family, colleagues, friends and fellow countrymen. It was the single worst personal decision of my life; I have no excuse for my actions and wish that I could take them back."
Cleveland Meredith was charged on Friday with making interstate threats to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Richard Barnett, of Arkansas, was charged on Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful entry; violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and theft of public money, property, or records. Barnett allegedly entered a restricted are of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Lonnie Coffman, of Alabama, was charged on Friday with possession of an unregistered firearm (destructive device) and carrying a pistol without a license. It is alleged that Coffman's vehicle contained 11 explosive devices known as Molotov cocktails and firearms. It is further alleged he was in possession of two firearms. Coffman was arrested and is currently being held. His detention hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2021.
Mark Leffingwell was charged on Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; assault on a federal law enforcement officer; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Leffingwell allegedly entered the Senate side of the Capitol and when stopped by law enforcement, struck an officer in the helmet and chest. Leffingwell is currently being held and has a detention hearing in district court today.
Christopher Alberts, of Maryland, was charged on Friday with carrying or having readily accessible, on the grounds of the United States Capitol Building, a firearm and ammunition. Specifically a Taurus G2C, 9mm handgun and 9mm caliber ammunition. The defendant appeared in district court and was released. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, 2021.
Joshua Pruitt was charged on Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. The defendant appeared in district court and was released. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 28, 2021.
Matthew Council, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Council allegedly unlawfully entered the Capitol building, and when stopped by law enforcement, he pushed the officer.
Cindy Fitchett, of Virginia, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Michael Curzio, of Florida, was charged on Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Douglas Sweet, of Florida, was charged on Jan. 7, 2021, with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Terry Brown, of Pennsylvania, was charged on Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Thomas Gallagher was charged on Friday with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The cases are being prosecuted by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and are being investigated jointly by the FBI; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; United States Marshals Service; U.S. Capitol Police Department; and the Metropolitan Police Department. — Agencies


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