Brooklyn Plumber Charged in Capitol Riot
A day after officers told a House panel in fascinating detail about the vicious assaults they faced in the Jan.6 Capitol riot, federal officials on Wednesday indicted a Brooklyn plumber – him- even a former candidate for office – to be in the angry crowd.
The plumber, Daniel Christmann, has come under scrutiny after posting images online showing him inside the Capitol and telling his associates that he stormed the halls of Congress and that ‘he had “climbed the walls”, according to court documents. Asked by a friend if he had entered the building, Mr. Christmann replied, according to the documents, “How could I not? “
Mr Christmann, 38, has been indicted in a four-count suit accusing him of being illegally on Capitol Hill as the riot unfolded. He was released on bail after appearing before a federal judge on Wednesday.
Mr Christmann’s lawyer, Michelle Gelernt, declined to comment on the charges.
The case against Mr Christmann is one of the latest to be brought amid what a federal prosecutor described in Wednesday’s hearing as the largest lawsuit the Department of Justice has yet launched.
Nearly seven months after the deadly attack on Capitol Hill, hundreds of people face criminal charges for what prosecutors say was their role in an attack that sought to block congressional certification of the Electoral College vote.
Investigators continue to identify and arrest those like Mr. Christmann whom they accuse of participating, even as some of the rioters begin to be punished for their participation. This month, Paul A. Hodgkins, the first person to plead guilty to invading the Capitol, was sentenced to eight months in prison.
The fallout from the attack continues to politically shock the United States. Democrats pledged to investigate the events before, during and after the riot through the special congressional committee that heard testimony from officers on Tuesday. Most Republicans refused to participate in the inquiry and some tried to play down what happened.
Although many participants in the riot were supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, authorities did not put Mr. Christmann on that side. A self-proclaimed libertarian, he led an unsuccessful campaign for the New York State Senate against Julia Salazar, an outgoing Democrat, last year under the banner of the New Moderate Party.
He obtained less than 1% of the vote and was arrested and charged with criminal mischief during the campaign for graffiti spray on the streets, police said.
He was also one of dozens of candidates who competed for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination last year, losing to Jo Jorgensen, the eventual candidate. Ms. Jorgensen obtained less than 2% of the popular vote, and no electoral vote.
In a questionnaire he filled out for the political website Ballotpedia, Mr Christmann identified himself as a union member and a “sane humanist” who wanted “the best for the little guy.” When asked who he admired, he listed Malcolm X and futuristic Buckminster Fuller.
In a press release issued during the campaign, Mr. Christmann said he “values the Constitution of the United States above all else.”
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