Maryland Man Convicted of All Charges for Actions During Capitol Breach

Maryland Man Convicted of All Charges for Actions During Capitol Breach

            WASHINGTON – A Maryland man was convicted of felony and misdemeanor charges in federal court in the District of Columbia for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C, on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of Congress called to ascertain and validate the electoral college vote for the 2020 presidential election.

            Christopher Alberts, 35, of Maryland, was found guilty yesterday of six felonies: civil disorder, assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers, disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon, entering and remaining on restricted grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, possessing a firearm on Capitol grounds, and possession of a firearm without a D.C. license, and three related misdemeanor: act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, engaging in violence in a restricted building or grounds. U.S. District Court Judge Christopher R. Cooper scheduled a sentencing hearing for July19, 2023.  The verdict followed a trial in the District of Columbia.

            According to the government’s evidence, Alberts arrived at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 wearing a body armor vest containing metal plates, a two-way radio with a throat mic, and a military backpack containing eight bungee cords, a flashlight, a ski mask, a meal-ready-to-eat kit, a first aid kit, military trousers, and a pocket knife.  Alberts carried in a holster a 9 millimeter pistol loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition and an additional bullet in the chamber.  Alberts also wore a separate holster containing another 12 rounds of ammunition.  The ammunition included “hollow point” bullets.

            Evidence at trial showed that Alberts arrived at the Capitol grounds at or near the time of the first breach of the Peace Circle at 12:57 p.m. and traveled through multiple bike rack barriers, past snow fencing and “area closed” signs.  Separating other rioters from outmanned U.S. Capitol Police Officers at around 1:05 p.m., Alberts told the rioters, “we’ll get them soon.”  Alberts donned a gas mask at around 1:20 p.m.

            At 1:48 p.m., Alberts ascended a metal bike rack to reach a banister of the Northwest Steps leading to the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace.  Six minutes later, protected by his gas mask and body armor, Alberts grabbed an officer and then charged up the staircase holding a wooden pallet, making physical contact with the U.S. Capitol Police Officers defending the steps.  He was the first rioter to reach a middle landing of the Northwest Steps.  Although his ascent to the Upper West Terrace was briefly stopped, Alberts was one of the first 15 rioters to reach the Upper West Terrace level at around 2:10 p.m.  Other rioters nearby soon broke into the Capitol Building, but Alberts was sidelined for 30 to 45 minutes as the pepper spray used by officers on the steps began to seep into his gas mask.

            Alberts then spent over two hours just steps from the Capitol Building, berating Metropolitan Police Department officers as “treasonous” and “communists,” alleging that the officers broke their oaths, and complaining that they were preventing him and his fellow rioters from doing their “duty to overthrow the government and reinstate a new government for the people.”  Alberts yelled at them, “y’all wanted the war.  You asked for it.  Y’all got it.”

            Alberts remained on Capitol Grounds over three more hours, continuing to yell at National Guard troops and uniformed officers from various jurisdictions.  At 7:22 p.m., while finally clearing the Capitol Grounds of rioters, an officer observed a bulge on Alberts’s right hip, and Alberts was found to be in possession of the loaded firearm and arrested. 

            Disorderly conduct and entering and remaining on restricted grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon each carry a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison.  Assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers carries a statutory maximum of 8 years in prison.  The civil disorder charge, carrying a firearm on Capitol grounds, and carrying a firearm without a D.C. license each carry a statutory maximum of 5 years in prison. The charges also carry potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The case is being prosecuted by the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police Department, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the U.S. Secret Service.

            In the 27 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 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.

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