Two Local Men Appear in Washington Court Over Capitol Riot | News, Sports, Jobs

As the timeline turns to 2022, residents of the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys are being sued in District of Columbia federal court for alleged offenses that arose as the nation debated the legitimacy of the 2020 U.S. presidential election and of its consequences.

Stephen M. Ayres, 39, of Carolewood Circle NW, Champion, is accused of violating the United States Capitol on January 6 during the vote count. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Jan. 27 before Judge John D. Bates of the District Court for the District of Columbia.

Ayres co-accused Matthew Perna, 37, of Sharon, Pa., Is scheduled to attend a plea modification hearing on Dec. 17 before the same judge. Perna’s attorney, Jerry Ingram, told a Pittsburgh media outlet that there had been no plea deal for his client and that Perna would have to plead guilty to the indictment.

Perna and Ayres are both charged with Obstructing Justice / Congress, unlawfully entering restricted buildings or land, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or land, and disorderly conduct in the Capitol building. .

The two men had been free on bail since their arrests. At the start of the case, a reporter attempted to interview Ayres at his home in Champion, but he refused.

Neither prosecutors nor court officials responded to emails discussing the case. Ayres’ lawyer Eugene Olm also declined to answer questions, saying he “was not authorized to speak to the media”.

Cleveland attorney Russell Bensing, who represented Ayres in his initial court appearance last year, said the obstruction charge was the most serious felony, while the rest were misdemeanors.

AFFIDAVIT

According to the affidavit prepared by Austin Price, a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, evidence was provided to support the charges against Ayres and Perna for their actions on January 6. It was the day the joint session of Congress was halted during the Electoral College votes count when thousands of protesters stormed the United States Capitol.

The affidavit says multiple clues showed Ayres and Perna were “among many who entered Capitol Hill illegally that day, and … posted a video speaking on social media later that day.”

On January 10, the FBI reviewed the nearly 8-minute video that showed three people, including Ayres and Perna, describing their experiences inside the Capitol. The same video was posted to YouTube on Jan. 7 by a “Johnny Anonymous” account and was tagged “It was all ANTIFA Breaking into the Capitol 1-6-2021.”

Perna said he and Ayers “walked right into the Capitol building” after Antifa “kicked the door down” and therefore remained open. Another man with the two also said police “escorted” them from one end of the building to the other, according to the video.

The FBI interviewed a witness on January 16 who told them about the presence of the two men on Capitol Hill on January 6. This witness was one of Ayres’ family members, according to the affidavit. The witness told the FBI that he watched Ayres’ live video on January 6, and in it, the witness stated that Ayres was acting “as if he was at war” and that there was had a lot of “screaming and screaming going on”.

At one point in the live video, the witness said Ayres said the January 6 incident was “just the beginning.”

CONTEXT

Federal prosecutors in court documents say the investigation and prosecution of the Capitol violation will be the largest in U.S. history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of evidence.

In the months following the incident, more than 500 people across the country have been charged with a multitude of criminal offenses, including, but not limited to conspiracy, forgery of documents or procedures, destruction and theft of government property, obstruction of law enforcement during civil unrest, assaults on law enforcement, obstruction of official proceedings, disruptive or violent behavior in the Capitol or on the Capitol grounds, and intrusion.

Investigations were initiated in 55 of the 56 FBI field offices.

According to an analysis of the events of the Washington Post, “the crowd on the west side eventually reached at least 9,400 people, exceeding the number of officers by more than 58.

EVIDENCE COLLECTED

According to documents provided to all those charged with the violation, an illustrative list of evidence has been accumulated by the government from sources such as:

∫ Thousands of hours of closed-circuit video from sources such as the United States Capitol Police, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department, and the United States Secret Service, and several hundred camera video from the United States. Metropolitan Police Automated Law Enforcement;

∫ Images from the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) and other members of the media;

∫ Thousands of hours of body-worn camera footage from Metro Police, Arlington County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department and the Virginia State Police;

∫ Radio transmissions, chronologies of events and, to a limited extent, recordings from the global positioning satellite for metropolitan police radios;

∫ Hundreds of thousands of tips, including at least 237,000 digital media tips, plus millions of Talking app posts and videos.

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