Defendant Assaulted Numerous Officers with an Aerosol Irritant
WASHINGTON – A Colorado 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 2020 presidential election.
Robert Gieswein, 26, of Woodland Park, Colorado, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to two counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 9, 2023.
According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Gieswein encountered a small group of Proud Boys members in downtown Washington, D.C. Gieswein was dressed in a camouflage paramilitary kit, and he was carrying a baseball bat. These individuals invited Gieswein to stay with them throughout the day. At some point, one of the Proud Boys members gave Gieswein a piece of orange duct tape to place on his helmet, for the purpose of identifying him as a “friendly.” Gieswein walked with the small group of Proud Boys to the area surrounding the Washington Monument where he encountered a large group of individuals, who identified as Proud Boys members, as well as others. Shortly after 10 a.m., Gieswein marched with a large group of Proud Boys from the Washington Monument to the Capitol. Gieswein then marched around the Capitol to its east side and back to the west side of the building. After marching with the Proud Boys group for nearly three hours, Gieswein arrived at the Peace Monument shortly before 1:00 p.m. A large mob, including the defendant, rushed into the restricted area of the Capitol grounds, and ultimately to the plaza to the west of the Capitol (“West Plaza”). While in the West Plaza, Gieswein participated with other rioters in, among other things, pushing on a barricade held by police that they were using to set a line between themselves and the rioters. While in the West Plaza, Gieswein was stopped by a man with a microphone and asked how he was doing. In response, Gieswein stated, among other things, that “this” was “crazy,” and that he “would die for this.” Asked what the solution was to “this right here,” Gieswein stated, to “execute these fascists.” Moments prior to making the statement, the defendant threw a water bottle at a line of police officers.
Shortly before 2:00 p.m., the crowd pushed up the stairs under the Inauguration scaffolding that led from the West Plaza to the Upper West Terrace. The defendant joined in this push. At the top of the stairs, the defendant sprayed an aerosol irritant at three members of the U.S. Capitol Police, who were attempting to prevent the crowd from further advancing towards the Capitol building. Defendant Gieswein continued to advance with the crowd towards the Capitol building and, again, met a line of officers attempting to prevent the crowd from advancing to the Capitol building. Gieswein sprayed his aerosol canister at a line of officers at the top of the stairs leading to the Upper West Terrace. Gieswein was one of the first rioters to reach the façade of the building, and he watched as the window adjacent to the Senate Wing Door was breached at approximately 2:13 p.m. He entered through that window, and he was one of the first rioters to enter the building. At approximately 2:29 p.m., the defendant sprayed his aerosol substance at two other Capitol Police officers.
At approximately 2:34 p.m., the defendant sprayed his aerosol substance at a group of officers who were in the process of arresting another rioter. At least one officer, with initials N.V., was hit by the spray and experienced bodily injury. In response, officers attempted to arrest Gieswein, and a scuffle ensued. Gieswein attempted to punch officer F.M. Gieswein broke free of the officers and was not placed under arrest.
Inside the Rotunda, shortly after 3:00 p.m., Gieswein participated with other rioters in pushing against a group of police officers who were trying to prevent the rioters from advancing up a hallway that led to Speaker Pelosi’s office. Gieswein and others were unable to break through the line of officers and were pushed back into the Rotunda. Shortly thereafter, the defendant exited the Capitol.
Each assault charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of eight 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 District of Colorado.
The case is being investigated by the FBI Denver Field Office and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Gieswein as #10 in its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 320 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.