Charges come as U.S. officials continue to investigate whether the January 6 violation was planned and coordinated.
The US Department of Justice charged two men identified as members of the far-right group Proud Boys with conspiracy on January 6. assault from the United States Capitol, as authorities continue to investigate the riot.
In a late statement Friday, the department accused Dominic Pezzola, 43, and William Pepe, 31, both of New York State, of participating in a conspiracy “to obstruct, influence, hinder and interfere with law enforcement agents ”who protected the United States Capitol and its grounds.
The men were arrested on January 12 and 15, respectively, in connection with the riot, which took place as Congress met on January 6 to certify President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
The men also face other charges, including civil unrest, illegal entry into restricted buildings or land, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or land.
The Justice Department said Pezzola and Pepe were members of the self-proclaimed “chauvinist Western” movement of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that featured prominently in the riot and attracted increased attention during the riot. investigation of the incident.
Pezzola’s lawyer Michael Scibetta told The Associated Press on Saturday that he was researching the charges but had yet to be able to discuss the indictment with his client , who is being held without bail.
An attorney for Pepe, Shelli Peterson, declined to comment, the news agency said.
Investigators tried to determine to what extent the riot, which left five dead, was planned in advance.
Several protesters have blame their actions on the words of former US President Donald Trump, who held a rally moments before the incident and had led a week-long campaign to overturn the election results, while others said they had been caught in the moment and had no intention of breaking the law.
To date, more than 135 people have been charged in the incident.
NEW: #FBIWFO publishes additional information and images on the homemade bombs planted in Washington between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on January 5. @FBI & @ATFWashington the reward is now $ 100,000. If you have any information, call 1800CALLFBI or submit online at https://t.co/t8G7LNMG8U. https://t.co/946jU0EEih pic.twitter.com/PRThowCyf4
– FBI Washington Field (@FBIWFO) January 29, 2021
On January 19, three members of the anti-government far-right militia Oath Keepers were accused plot in connection with the riot. Prosecutors said the trio were involved in “planning and coordinating” the breach via social media.
Meanwhile, the FBI said on Friday that homemade bombs found at the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican National Committees were placed there the day before the breach in the U.S. Capitol.
The bombs were discovered almost as rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, and investigators are considering whether they were part of a plot to hijack security personnel from the scene.
The FBI has increased a reward up to $ 100,000 for information on homemade bombs.