Politics

Former New York state Senate candidate arrested on Trump Capitol riot charges

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Key Points
  • A Brooklyn, New York, plumber who ran for the New York state Senate was arrested for invading the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot with a mob of Trump supporters.
  • Daniel Christmann posted photos and videos from inside the Capitol that day on his Instagram account, which has the handle "dannyforsenate," a court filing said.
  • The riot interrupted a joint session of Congress that was confirming the election of President Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump.

A Brooklyn, New York, plumber who ran as a candidate for the New York state Senate last fall was arrested Wednesday by the FBI at his home for invading the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot with a mob of Trump supporters.

The 38-year-old defendant, Daniel Christmann, posted photos and videos from inside the Capitol that day on his Instagram account, which has the handle "dannyforsenate," according to a filing in Brooklyn federal court. Two people tipped off authorities about those Instagram posts, that filing said.

Surveillance video images show Christmann outside and inside the Capitol as well, the filing revealed.

In one such image, Christmann is seen "speaking or shouting" while standing in a crowd outside the Capitol in front of law-enforcement officers lined up to prevent people in the mob from getting inside, the filing said.

The FBI identified Christmann from the crowd photos by comparing the images of him with his Instagram account and a New York Police Department booking photo for his Aug. 14, 2020, arrest on charges of criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of graffiti instruments.

Included in a D.O.J. Statement of facts, photo (circled in yellow) shows Daniel Christmann entering the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6th, 2021.
Source: D.O.J.

Christmann admitted in multiple conversations on that Instagram account in the week following the riot that he had been part of the horde that swarmed in and around the Capitol, interrupting a joint session of Congress that was confirming the election of President Joe Biden, that filing says.

"Yeah im not going to lie," Christmann responded on Jan. 7, when one follower asked if he had "stormed the capitol," according to the court filing, which was a "statement of facts" in the case written by an FBI agent.

The FBI identified Christmann by comparing images on his Instagram account

Christmann is charged with knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building with the intent of disrupting government business, and uttering loud, threatening or abusive language in the Capitol with the intent of disrupting proceedings of Congress.

He is one of more than 500 people charged in connection with the riot, which began after then-President Donald Trump urged a crowd at a rally outside the White House to march to the Capitol and fight against the certification of Biden's Electoral College victory over him.

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Trump rioter Douglas Austin Jensen thought he invaded White House during Capitol siege, video shows

Christmann's case, like those of the other defendants, will be prosecuted in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. He is due to be presented in Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday afternoon.

Michelle Gerlent, a lawyer for Christmann, declined to comment on the case when contacted by CNBC.

Christmann launched a failed bid in 2020 to be nominated as the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate.

Later that year, he ran as a candidate under the New Moderate Party line for New York's 18th state Senate District, which encompasses neighborhoods including Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick.

In that race, he was crushed by the nominee of the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party, Julia Salazar, who received more than 97% of the vote to Christmann's 2.3%.

Christmann on an Instagram post after the riot wrote he "wasn't one of the first people in," but was "when realized it was happening I was scaling walls and s---," the filing said, referring to a screen grab of the conversation.

Christmann claimed he "scaled a wall on a garden hose," the filing said.

On the same day, another follower asked Christmann if he had gone "inside" the Capitol,

"How could I not?" he replied, the filing said.

Christmann then asked people on private messages on Facebook on Jan. 18 to "delete" some videos from the riot, noting that "my friend jake got taken in and my campaign manager from this summer got taken in."

"Its go time on the end of times," Christmann said in that Facebook message.

Jake is a reference of Edward Jacob Lang, an upstate New York resident, while Christmann's campaign manager was Nicolas Moncada, who until last year was an illustrations major at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

Both of those men were arrested earlier this year and charged in connection with the Capitol riot.

Lang, who remains jailed without bail, was seen on videos and photographs "violently engaging with law enforcement officers as they attempted to keep rioters out of the Capitol," a court filing in his case says.

One video shows what appears to be Lang "raising a riot shield over his head as the crowd cheers and then violently slam the shield down on the ground repeatedly near where the officers are visibly lined up," the filing said.

Another video shows Lang jabbing a bat at officers multiple times.

Lang is charged with civil disorder, assaulting police, obstruction of an official proceeding and other crimes in an indictment.

Moncada, according to a court filing on Jan. 16, posted on his Instagram account a photo of himself with the caption, "Outside Pelosi's office," which was a reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.

He is charged with unlawful entry on restricted grounds, and violent entry disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.