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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 20, 2021

New Jersey Man and Oath Keeper Arrested for Crimes Related to Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Concealed Evidence and Made False Statements to Investigators

Note: A full copy of the charging document can be viewed here.

WASHINGTON — Today, a New Jersey man was arrested for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

James Breheny, aka Seamus Evers, 61, of Little Ferry, is charged with federal offenses that include violent entry and disorderly conduct; entering and remaining in a restricted building with intent to disrupt government; obstruction of an official proceeding; and corruptly altering, destroying or concealing evidence. Breheny will make his initial court appearance in the District of New Jersey on May 20, 2021.

According to the complaint, Breheny is affiliated with the Oath Keepers – a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias – and served as Bergen County Coordinator for the New Jersey chapter. On the morning of Jan. 6, Breheny was in a group chat titled “DC Op: Jan 6 21” on Signal, an encrypted messaging application. Messages from the chat reference Breheny “coming in with a team from NJ, and who also has contacts with several militia leaders coming in.” Other members participating in this chat have been indicted on conspiracy charges in U.S. v. Caldwell et al., 21-cr-28-APM.

According to publicly available video footage, Breheny was in close proximity to the ongoing violence against law enforcement officers that caused the East doors to be breached and emergency alarm bells to ring loudly. Videos taken by members of the public as well as closed circuit television from the U.S. Capitol show Breheny willfully entering the Capitol, and inside the rotunda.

Following the Jan. 6 breach, Breheny took several steps to avoid detection by law enforcement. In a meeting with officers on Jan. 14, Breheny admitted that he entered the U.S. Capitol, but claimed he did not willfully enter and was pushed inside by the surge of people. Breheny also told law enforcement he did not see who opened the U.S. Capitol doors, nor how those doors were opened, and that he did not know he was not allowed inside the Capitol.

A physical search of Breheny’s phone revealed text messages including, “I breached the Capitol door!” and “Made it in Brother,” as well as, “I have to clear chats.” His phone also contained texts from associates that read, “They’re going through social media looking at pictures to try to identify and prosecute anyone in the Capitol building,” and “Delete all pictures, messages and get a new phone. Praying for you brother.” Brehney deactivated his Facebook account on Jan. 8. According to evidence subsequently gathered from a search of Breheny’s Facebook account, Breheny transmitted photos from the Jan. 6 riots on the account and made various statements about the riots on the account.

The 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 New Jersey.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department, with significant assistance provided by the FBI’s Newark Field Office. 

In the first 120 days after Jan. 6, approximately 440 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, including over 125 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.

The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 20, 2021