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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 22, 2022

New York Man Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge for Actions During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Defendant Opened Door to Capitol, Directed Rioters Inside

            WASHINGTON – A New York 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.

            Eric Gerwatowski, 32, of New Hyde Park, New York, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, Gerwatowski was at the front of a crowd just outside the Upper House Doors. U.S. Capitol Police were attempting to close these doors to prevent further rioters from getting into the building. Gerwatowski pulled open one of the doors that the Capitol Police had just closed. He then turned to the mob and yelled, “Let’s go!” and directed more rioters into the building. He then entered the building, too. While inside, Gerwatowski walked down a corridor and could be heard stating, “They’re raping kids and they’re shooting kids” to another rioter who was livestreaming. He left the Capitol after being inside for about three minutes.

            Gerwatowski was also interviewed on camera outside the building, stating, among other things, “the commies are trying to steal the country” and that he believed the election was stolen.

            Gerwatowski was arrested on Feb. 8, 2022, in New Hyde Park. He is to be sentenced on March 2, 2023. He faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison for interfering with officers during a civil disorder, 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 Eastern District of New York.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI New York Field Office’s Long Island Resident Agency, and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, which identified Gerwatowski as #244 in its seeking information photos.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.

            In the 22 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 275 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.

Updated November 22, 2022