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Press Release

Virginia Father and Son Plead Guilty to Assaulting Law Enforcement with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia

            WASHINGTON – A father and son from Virginia both pleaded guilty today to felony charges related to their actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Their 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.

            Farhad Azari, 63, and Farbod Azari, 32, both of Richmond, VA, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to one count of civil disorder and one count of assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers with a deadly or dangerous weapon. Farhad is the father of Farbod Azari. U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth will sentence the pair on May 21, 2024.

            According to court documents, on Jan. 6, 2021, the two men traveled from Richmond, VA, to Washington, D.C., to protest Congress' certification of the Electoral College vote. The two made their way to the West Front and West Plaza of the Capitol grounds and moved to the front of a group of rioters. At approximately 1:13 p.m., while other rioters dismantled sections of the fencing at the foot of the steps, Farbod approached a section of the fencing, gestured at the line of police officers, spat in their direction, and retreated into the crowd. Several seconds later, Farbod approached the fencing again and threw a water bottle at the officers.

            Meanwhile, Farhad engaged with officers defending the police line multiple times. First, he threw a water bottle at officers in the police line. Shortly after that, at about 1:14 p.m., he rushed police as Metropolitan Police Department officers arrived on the scene to reestablish the police line broken earlier by rioters. Farhad kicked a bike rack and then joined with other rioters in pushing the rack back against police officers in a clear attempt to break the newly established line.

            At approximately 1:18 p.m., Farbod joined other rioters in dismantling a section of the black fencing at the base of the West Plaza steps by kicking and pulling at it, using his foot to kick at and stomp on the gate until it was flat on the ground.

            Approximately 30 minutes later, Farhad confronted a line of police officers on the north side of the West Plaza, near the foot of a set of stairs leading to the Upper West Terrace of the Capitol. Farhad had begun to yell at the officers and attempted to kick an object on the ground in the direction of the police. When that failed, Farhad picked up a flagpole and hurled it at the line of officers. Shortly after he threw the flagpole, Farhad obtained an air horn and threw that, too, toward officers.

            At about 2:00 p.m., Farbod joined a crowd of rioters under the scaffolding erected over the Northwest stairs—a set of steps leading from the north side of the West Plaza of the Capitol to the north side of the Upper West Terrace. As other rioters attempted to break through the metal bike-rack barricades guarded by United States Capitol Police (USCP) officers, Farbod waved a flag and used it to jab at the line of USCP officers, making physical contact with one officer's arm. At about 2:09 p.m., the rioters breached the barricades and surged up the Northwest stairs towards the Capitol. Farbod, at the front of the group, chased retreating officers up the stairs.

            At approximately 2:14 p.m., Farhad entered the U.S. Capitol building via the Senate Wing Doors through a broken window. Farhad was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol during the first breach of the Senate Wing Doors. Farhad proceeded toward the Crypt and, while inside, attempted to direct rioters to rush the police line that had formed there to prevent further incursion into the Capitol. He exited the building at approximately 2:35 p.m. via the same broken Senate Wing Door window from which he entered.

            At about 2:46 p.m., Farhad reentered the Capitol building via the Parliamentarian Doors and entered an office. He then exited via the Parliamentarian Doors at about 2:50 p.m. On his way out, Farhad encouraged other rioters to enter the Parliamentarian Door.

            Meanwhile, at approximately 3:30 p.m., Farbod rushed to the north side of the Upper West Terrace, where police officers had formed a line between rioters and the building. Farbod attempted to break through the line of officers by pushing his shoulder into an officer standing between him and the Capitol building. An officer pushed Farbod back into the crowd, and Farbod threw a water bottle at the line of officers. Moments later, Farbod picked up a flagpole, raised it behind his head, took several steps towards the line of police officers, and swung it towards the officers. He then retreated several feet and held the flagpole like a spear before he threw it at the line of officers.

            FBI agents arrested the pair on Jan. 18, 2023, in Virginia.

            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 Virginia.

            This case is being investigated by the FBI's Richmond and Washington Field Offices, which identified Farbod Azari as #187 on its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

            In the 36 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,265 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.

Updated January 22, 2024

Topic
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-46