April 13, 2021

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Man with links to Roger Stone, far-right militia charged after Capitol Hill riot – NBC News

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A New York man with links to a far-right militia group and Roger Stone was charged Monday after allegedly storming the U.S. Capitol with a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6.

Roberto Minuta, 36, appeared via teleconference at federal court in White Plains, New York, on charges of obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building and tampering with documents and proceedings.

In court documents, federal authorities described Minuta, a tattoo artist in Newburgh, New York, as a “lifetime” member of the Oath Keepers, a group that urged former President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy special forces and militia members to seize U.S. election systems and suppress “domestic enemies.”

The New York Times and other news outlets reported last month that Minuta was allegedly seen providing security to Stone — a longtime advisor of Trump, convicted felon and self-described “dirty trickster” — near the White House on the morning of Jan. 6.

Minuta was later captured on video appearing to taunt police officers at an entrance to the U.S. Capitol Building, according to the Times.

Federal authorities included similar images in the court documents that appeared to show Minuta armed with pepper spray and wearing tactical gear. The documents say he was “aggressively” berating law enforcement officers.

A message left at the shop where Minuta works was not immediately returned. Minuta’s federal public defender said Monday that he was not charged with committing violent acts and has led a law-abiding life.

Minuta was released on $150,000 bond with travel restrictions. He was also ordered to surrender his weapons.

Trump pardoned Stone in December after he was convicted of making false statements, obstruction and witness tampering in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Federal authorities said last month that they were investigating whether Stone and other high-profile far-right figures played a role in organizing the events of Jan. 6.

The Justice Department has filed charges against hundreds of people who allegedly participated in storming the Capitol. Federal authorities have accused participants of a range of crimes, including assaulting a police officer, threatening to attack lawmakers and illegally entering a protected building.

A study published last week by George Washington University described the majority of those have so far been arrested in the riot as “inspired believers” — people who subscribe to a range of extremist narratives and conspiracy theories but weren’t linked to established groups promoting violence.

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