Ex-Government Official Falsely Accused Colleagues of Participating in Jan. 6 Riot: FBI

Ex-Government Official Falsely Accused Colleagues of Participating in Jan. 6 Riot: FBI
Tear gas blows through the crowd of protesters on the west plaza of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

A former government official accused seven ex-colleagues of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Miguel Eugenio Zapata, who worked for the government through early 2021, submitted tips to the FBI alleging seven government employees took part in the Capitol breach, one of the filings states.

On Feb. 10, 2021, for instance, Mr. Zapata wrote that one of the employees “was actively engaged in attempting to overthrow the government of the United States” and “took part in the riot on January 6, 2021.”

In two tips submitted that day, Mr. Zapata included the employees’ names, ages, employers, and security clearance levels, an FBI task force agent said in an affidavit.

The two employees were at work in Virginia on Jan. 6, they told the FBI. Their statements were corroborated with records from their employer.

There were also indications that Mr. Zapata sent tips about the two workers to their employer, which received an anonymous report that one person was part of the riot. That person was quoted as saying, “we’re going to hang those dirty politicians and keep President Trump in office for 4 more years.”

When the employer contacted the tipster, the individual provided allegations about the second worker.

Mr. Zapata later in 2021 sent tips to the FBI about five other government employees, including at least two employees of intelligence agencies, alleging they committed crimes on Jan. 6.

He said that one of the employees “attended the riot insurrection at the Capitol that lead [sic] to the death of multiple people and the wounding of multiple police officers.” He said that the employee “also provided support to domestic terrorist groups like the OathKeepers, Proud Boys, and Boogaloos” and “used [their] position of trust in the intelligence community to share classified information with these groups in an effort to assist them succeed in overthrowing the government.”

FBI agents looked into the other five tips and confirmed that the employees were either at work or home on Jan. 6, according to Cole Ashcraft, a task force officer with the FBI’s Washington Field Office Cyber Task Force.

Some government employees were at the Capitol on Jan. 6, with at least one who violated the law not being charged.

Mr. Zapata had worked with all seven people during a time period spanning from 2015 through early 2021, according to charging documents.

Because of the similar nature of the tips to the FBI’s portal, agents started looking into who submitted them. They were able to obtain records from a company that enables people to access the Internet from an isolated browser that showed the tipster was Mr. Zapata.

Mr. Zapata is no longer with the government, Mr. Ashcraft said.

Mr. Zapata was charged with violating a federal law that prohibits making false statements to law enforcement. Each violation of the law carries a prison term of up to five years.

A court-appointed lawyer representing Mr. Zapata did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Zapata was arrested in Chantilly, Virginia, on May 2.

He appeared that day in federal court and was ordered released for now by U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui. Conditions of release include not violating the law, avoiding all contact with the people who he allegedly falsely accused of being at the Capitol, and not possessing firearms.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 23.

Another Arrest Made

Authorities this week made another arrest, taking Ohio resident Clay Norris into custody for allegedly committing crimes on Jan. 6.

Mr. Norris, 48, was charged with civil disorder and misdemeanors, including remaining in a restricted building or grounds and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds.

According to court documents, Mr. Norris, wearing a hat that said “Trump 2020” and a sweatshirt that said “Resist,” helped others outside the Capitol push metal barricades against law enforcement officers, forcing the officers to retreat.

Mr. Norris was later spotted telling officers, “We don’t want you guys, we want them” while pointing to the building. Using a megaphone, Mr. Norris also told people around him to “make a stand, while there is still time to make a stand,” and “think about the kids and future children,” according to court documents.

Mr. Norris and others got close to an entrance to the Capitol but retreated when U.S. Capitol Police officers deployed gas, according to surveillance footage. Mr. Norris is not accused of entering the Capitol.

Mr. Norris did not have an attorney listed on the court docket. He was set to make a court appearance on Friday.

More than 1,385 people have been charged for crimes related to Jan. 6, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Nearly 800 have pleaded guilty, while over 150 have been found guilty by juries or judges. Of defendants who have received sentences, 520 have been sentenced to time in prison.

Federal prosecutors say they’re still working hard on tracking down people who took part in the riot.

From The Epoch Times

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