Americas

These New Yorkers Are Accused of Taking Part in the Capitol Riot

As the Federal Bureau of Investigations intensified its nationwide manhunt for those who broke into the United States Capitol last week, arrests of some of the more than 170 suspects began to ramp up. As rioters departed Washington, D.C., and fanned out to their homes across the country, agents were sifting through over 100,000 digital tips and bringing federal charges against more than 70 people to date.

Many face charges including unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, but more grievous charges are expected for some, according to law enforcement officials — including sedition.

A number of those who law enforcement say participated in the riot came from Mr. Trump’s home state of New York.

Here’s who the New Yorkers are:

The son of a Brooklyn judge

Wearing a police vest and draped in animal pelts, Aaron Mostofsky, 34, cut a distinctive figure when he was interviewed inside the Capitol while clutching a riot shield.

“We were cheated,” he said to a reporter for The New York Post, repeating President Trump’s debunked claim of widespread election fraud. “I don’t think 75 million people voted for Trump — I think it was close to 85 million.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Mostofsky, the son of Judge Steven Mostofsky of Kings County Supreme Court, who also goes by Shlomo, was arrested at his brother’s house in Brooklyn on charges that include stealing government property, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. What appear to be fur pelts were taken out of Mr. Mostofsky’s own house by F.B.I. agents, in a video of the arrest posted on Twitter.

Both Mr. Mostofsky and his father are registered Democrats, according to election records. At a court hearing on Tuesday, Jeffrey T. Schwartz, a lawyer for Mr. Mostofsky, said he was “not part of the mob.”

“He was not rampaging,” Mr. Schwartz said in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. “He understands how the whole thing in Washington got totally out of hand.”

In a Facebook comment on Nov. 7, the day the presidential election was called for Joseph R. Biden Jr., Mr. Mostofsky wrote: “when and where are we protesting/rioting,” according to his criminal complaint.

An M.T.A. employee

William Pepe, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee from Beacon, N.Y., was arrested by F.B.I. agents in the parking lot of a bank in White Plains, N.Y., on Tuesday and is facing charges of unlawful entry and disorderly conduct for his breaching of the Capitol, the Justice Department announced.

Mr. Pepe, 31, called in sick to work to travel to Washington last Wednesday. He was suspended without pay last week from his job as a Metro-North Railroad laborer at its Brewster rail yard.

A federal magistrate judge, Judith C. McCarthy, released Mr. Pepe on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday, ordering that he abide by a nighttime curfew, wear a GPS monitoring device and surrender his shotgun and hunting knife to the authorities. Mr. Pepe was “restricted from traveling to the District of Columbia for any purpose whatsoever,” except for any required in-person court hearing, the judge said.

The M.T.A. is cooperating with federal law enforcement agencies. On Tuesday the agency also lodged internal disciplinary charges against Mr. Pepe, which, following an investigation, may result in termination from his job, for which he makes around $73,000 a year.

“Those who attacked that symbol of American democracy disqualified themselves from working for the people of New York,” a spokesman for the authority said in a statement.

An upstate town official

Sharon Pineo, 70, of Round Lake, N.Y., was photographed being detained by officers on the steps of the Capitol, apparently having made it past barricades surrounding the building. Ms. Pineo organized a charter bus to the protest, according to The Albany Times Union.

A member of the town of Malta’s zoning board of appeals, Ms. Pineo, a Republican, has since resigned her position, following calls for her removal, according to The Daily Gazette, which obtained a copy of her resignation letter.

“I tender this resignation with regret, but believe that in these challenging times, it is important to not all any impediment to the smooth operation of the town’s business,” Ms. Pineo wrote.

Though she was photographed in a green windbreaker, slumped as multiple officers appear to grapple with her, Ms. Pineo denied involvement beyond protesting in a statement submitted to a local radio station, The Gazette reported.

“I would like the public to know that I did not enter the building nor did I commit any violence,” she said in the statement, adding she merely “exercised on behalf of the people the freedom of speech.”

She has not been charged with a crime.

A Buffalo-area anti-mask activist

Pete Harding of Cheektowaga, N.Y., spent about 40 minutes inside the Capitol, according to an interview he gave to The Buffalo News. Mr. Harding, an anti-mask activist who has frequently spoken out against coronavirus lockdown measures, was arrested this summer for refusing to wear a mask in a Buffalo liquor store.

In the interview with The News, Mr. Harding said he was in the Capitol to document what transpired. “I did nothing wrong,” he said, adding that he had contacted the F.B.I. after video surfaced of him inside the building and many called for his arrest on social media.

Mr. Harding also was filmed participating in a group that took photographic equipment from journalists, threw it in a pile and tried to set it on fire.

“That was a symbolic gesture,” said Mr. Harding, who is seen in the video stooping over the pile and attempting to ignite it with a lighter. “Nothing burned.”

Mr. Harding has not been charged with a crime.

A Staten Island firebrand

Well known for protests in his home borough of Staten Island and for loudly heckling Mayor Bill de Blasio on the Staten Island Ferry, Gary Phaneuf was arrested in Washington on Jan. 7 following his attendance at the riot for violating the curfew imposed by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, according to Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department.

Mr. Phaneuf’s politics appear to have shifted over time: In 2011, Mr. Phaneuf was profiled in The New Yorker while participating in Occupy Wall Street protests and camped out in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan. At the time, he expressed worry about the risk that right-wing speech posed to President Barack Obama. “I’m scared about what I’m hearing from the Tea Party and Rush Limbaugh; they’re creating an environment where he could be shot,” he said.

Capitol Riot Fallout

From Riot to Impeachment

The riot inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, followed a rally at which President Trump made an inflammatory speech to his supporters, questioning the results of the election. Here’s a look at what happened and the ongoing fallout:

    • As this video shows, poor planning and a restive crowd encouraged by President Trump set the stage for the riot.
    • A two hour period was crucial to turning the rally into the riot.
    • Several Trump administration officials, including cabinet members Betsy DeVos and Elaine Chao, announced that they were stepping down as a result of the riot.
    • Federal prosecutors have charged more than 70 people, including some who appeared in viral photos and videos of the riot. Officials expect to eventually charge hundreds of others.
    • The House voted to impeach the president on charges of “inciting an insurrection” that led to the rampage by his supporters.

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