Brooklyn Plumber Charged in Capitol Riot

Brooklyn Plumber Charged in Capitol Riot 1

Daniel Christmann posted images that showed him inside the Capitol, prosecutors said. Asked whether he’d entered the building, he replied: “How could I not?”

A day after police officers told a House panel in riveting detail about the vicious assaults they faced during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, federal authorities on Wednesday charged a Brooklyn plumber — himself a former candidate for office — with being in the angry mob.

The plumber, Daniel Christmann, attracted scrutiny after posting images online that showed him inside the Capitol and telling associates he had stormed the halls of Congress and had been “scaling walls,” according to court documents. Asked by a friend whether he had entered the building, Mr. Christmann said, according to the documents, “How could I not?”

Mr. Christmann, 38, was charged in a complaint with four counts that accuse him of being in the Capitol illegally as the riot unfolded. He was released from custody on his own recognizance after appearing before a federal magistrate judge on Wednesday.

A lawyer for Mr. Christmann, Michelle Gelernt, declined to comment on the charges.

The case against Mr. Christmann is among the latest to be brought amid what a federal prosecutor described during the hearing on Wednesday as the largest prosecution the Justice Department has ever undertaken.

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Nearly seven months after the deadly attack on the Capitol, hundreds of people are facing criminal charges for what prosecutors say were their roles in an onslaught that was meant to block Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote.

Investigators continue to identify and arrest those like Mr. Christmann who they accuse of taking part, even as some of the rioters begin to face punishment 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.

Fallout from the attack continues to roil the United States politically. Democrats have committed to investigating events before, during and after the riot via the special congressional committee that heard the officers’ testimony on Tuesday. Most Republicans have declined to take part in the inquiry and some have tried to play down what happened.

Although many of the riot’s participants were supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, the authorities have not put Mr. Christmann in that camp. A self-described libertarian, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for New York State Senate against Julia Salazar, an incumbent Democrat, last year under the New Moderate Party banner.

He got less than 1 percent of the vote and was arrested and charged with criminal mischief during the campaign for spray-painting graffiti on the street, the police said.

He was also one of dozens of candidates who competed for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination last year, losing out to Jo Jorgensen, the eventual nominee. Ms. Jorgensen got less than 2 percent of the popular vote, and no electoral votes.

In a questionnaire that he completed for the political website Ballotpedia, Mr. Christmann identified himself as a union member and a “no nonsense humanist” who wanted “what is best for the little guy.” Asked who he admired, he listed Malcolm X and the futurist Buckminster Fuller.

In a news release issued during the campaign, Mr. Christmann said he “values the United States Constitution above all else.”

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