Brooklyn Plumber Charged in Capitol Riot
A day after police told a House panel in riveting detail about the vicious attacks they faced during the January 6 Capitol uprising, federal authorities on Wednesday charged a Brooklyn plumber — himself a former candidate for office — of joining the angry mob.
The plumber, Daniel Christmann, was criticized after posting images online showing him inside the Capitol and telling associates that he stormed the halls of Congress and “climbed walls,” according to court documents. When asked by a friend if he had entered the building, Mr Christmann said, according to the documents, “How could I not?”
Mr. Christmann, 38, was indicted in a four-count complaint accusing him of being illegally inside the Capitol as the riots unfolded. He was released on his own admission after appearing before a federal magistrate on Wednesday.
A lawyer for Mr Christmann, Michelle Gelernt, declined to comment on the allegations.
The case against Mr. Christmann is one of the latest to be filed amid what a federal prosecutor described during Wednesday’s hearing as the largest prosecution the Justice Department has ever undertaken.
Nearly seven months after the deadly attack on the Capitol, hundreds of people are facing criminal charges for their role in an attack designed to block Congressional approval of the Electoral College.
Investigators continue to identify and arrest people like Mr. Christmann whom they accuse of participating, even as some of the rioters are punished for their participation. This month, Paul A. Hodgkins, the first person to plead guilty to entering the Capitol, was sentenced to eight months in prison.
The fallout from the attack continues to affect the United States politically. Democrats have pledged to investigate events before, during and after the riots through the Congressional Special Committee, which heard the officers’ testimony on Tuesday. Most Republicans have declined to participate in the investigation, and some have tried to downplay what happened.
While many of the participants in the riots were supporters of former President Donald J. Trump, authorities did not place Mr. Christmann in that camp. Calling himself a libertarian, he ran a failed New York State Senate campaign last year against Julia Salazar, a sitting Democrat, under the New Moderate Party banner.
He received less than 1 percent of the vote and was arrested and charged with criminal mischief during the street graffiti spraying campaign, police said.
He was also one of dozens of candidates competing for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination last year, losing to Jo Jorgensen, the eventual candidate. Ms Jorgensen received less than 2 percent of the vote and no electoral votes.
In a questionnaire he filled out for the political website Ballotpedia, Mr. Christmann identified himself as a union member and a “no-nonsense humanist” who wanted “what’s best for the little man.” When asked who he admired, he mentioned Malcolm X and the futurist Buckminster Fuller.
In a press release issued during the campaign, Mr. Christmann said he “values the Constitution of the United States above all else”.