WASHINGTON - A Delaware 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.
Anthony Alexander Antonio, 29, of Wilmington, Del., pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, a felony offense. U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson scheduled sentencing for Aug. 23, 2024.
According to the government's evidence, Antonio was wearing a black tactical bulletproof vest adorned with a "Three Percenters" patch when he arrived at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. By 1:22 p.m., Antonio was standing on the West Plaza with the mob facing defensive lines of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers across a metal fencing barrier. He shouted at the police, "You want war? We got war. 1776 all over again."
The mob then pushed its way through the barriers. As officers retreated, the throng, including Antonio, followed. Confronting officers in the Lower West Terrace Tunnel, rioters attempted to enter the Capitol building itself. During the confrontation with police, Antonio took possession of a police shield that had been stolen from an officer and passed it to others. Antonio remained in the Tunnel for about two minutes. He re-entered the Tunnel 20 minutes later and was subsequently pushed out by officers attempting to clear the area.
At roughly 3:21 p.m., rioters dragged an MPD officer down a set of stairs leading down to the Lower West Terrace. Antonio, standing outside of the Tunnel, sprayed water and threw his water bottle in the direction of the officer who was being dragged by other rioters. During a pause in the mob's assault on the police defending the Tunnel, Antonio told one officer, "I'll be honest, this isn't against you personally. This is against our country."
Observing that officers were wearing body cameras, Antonio asked, "It that on?" and "Who is going to see it?" When the officers replied, "The Department," Antonio bent down, leaned forward to speak directly into the officer's body-worn camera, and stated, "We will not back down."
Shortly thereafter, Antonio obtained a bullhorn and proceeded to address the riotous crowd, saying:
"Patriots! Everybody listen up! We've made it this far….. We are holding the line. We are not moving until we get our way. This is a peaceful protest now. This is a peaceful protest now and always has been. Remember this is our Capitol; this is our house, these are our steps. If we have to sit here all night, we will. Do not bum rush us, we are trying to work with them."
Over time, the mob began again to push and surge forward towards the Tunnel entrance and resumed fighting with the officers defending the U.S. Capitol. Antonio told members of the crowd to stop pushing him and the officers. By approximately 4:00 p.m., however, Antonio joined a mass of rioters pushing against officers in the Tunnel. While there, Antonio reached out and took a gas mask belonging to the police, which he then proceeded to wear. Inside the Tunnel at about 4:09 p.m., Antonio forcefully pushed and grappled with police officers and refused to leave until sprayed with a chemical irritant.
Antonio, still wearing the gas mask, camouflage shirt, and tactical vest, asked other rioters to lift him up to a window. He then climbed through the broken window and into the U.S. Capitol building. Once inside, he picked up a piece of furniture with another rioter and threw it aside, walking off with the broken leg of that piece of furniture in his hand.
Antonio subsequently gave an interview on January 6 in which he explained that while inside the room, he and other rioters "broke everything, so we have something to use against 'em." Later, while still on the U.S. Capitol grounds, Antonio gave another interview in which he said:
"Yes, yes, we penetrated the Capitol building. There was [sic] three officers that were trying to work with us, when I had the megaphone. The other officers told them to shut up, mow us down, and they all sprayed us. They lifted up my gas mask and sprayed me in the face, beating us in the head with batons. So, we knew we couldn't get through the doors.
"So, we broke the window, got into the room, at that point ... it was all over my hair, my face, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see, so I, we had to come up with a plan. We barricaded the door, broke everything, so we have something to use against 'em. While we were in there, trying to come up with a plan, I was useless, I was useless, so I left."
FBI agents arrested Antonio on April 20, 2021, in Wilmington, Delaware.
In an interview with CNN after he was charged, Antonio stated that he "Shouldn't have been there that day, [I] shouldn't have been involved on those Capitol steps" and acknowledged that "[w]hat happened that day should not have happened …we should not attack law enforcement; we should not attack our American government."
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 Delaware.
This case is being investigated by the FBI's Baltimore and Washington Field Offices, which identified Antonio as #101 in its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the 35 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,230 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.