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Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

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Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Encouraged and Took Part in Multiple Confrontations

            WASHINGTON – An Illinois man pleaded guilty today to a felony charge for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Matthew Capsel, 28, of Ottawa, Illinois, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., Capsel was among rioters illegally at the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol. While there, he recorded videos on social media in which he declared, among other things, “Hold the line, don’t run.” He also joined a mob of rioters on the steps to the inauguration bleachers, where he and others overtook law enforcement officers attempting to secure the area. Later, at about 6:14 p.m., after a curfew had been enacted and the National Guard had established a perimeter on the west side of the Capitol, Capsel joined another mob. He and others charged at the line of National Guard members, pushing them.

            Capsel continued to post about his actions on social media in the days following Jan. 6, writing in one post, “On the 6[th] good men had to do a bad thing …”

            Capsel was arrested on Jan. 26, 2021, in Illinois. He is to be sentenced on Dec. 16, 2022. He faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison, as well as potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Chicago and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 19 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 860 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 260 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing. 

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

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