US Capitol To Reopen With Limited Tours

The United States Capitol in Washington D.C. will reopen its doors to the public – on a limited basis – on Monday, March 28, the first time the landmark building will accept visitors in more than two years.

The Capitol was closed to the public on March 12, 2020, the day after the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic.


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Reopening from COVID-19

The only time the public has been inside since was on January 6, 2021, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building in the hopes of reversing the outcome of the November 2020 election.

According to Fox News, House Sergeant-at-Arms William J. Walker and Capitol attending physician Brian P. Monahan laid out a plan for Congress that involves a phased reopening in which visitors must pre-register in order to visit on a guided tour of the structure.

Each tour will include a maximum of 15 guests per tour, and reservations must be made online.

“We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we work together to resume public tours of the Capitol for the American people in a way that protects the health and safety of visitors and institutional staff alike,” Walker and Dr. Monahan wrote to Congress.

The reopening of the Capitol had been considered for some time as COVID cases began to wane. Normally, three million to five million people a year visit the Capitol. Further rollouts will take place in phases, including the ability to eat in the Capitol restaurant or visit the gallery.

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Capitol riots: Guy Reffitt accused of being ‘tip of spear’ in 6 January mob

On 6 January, 2021, a mob of pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers gathered to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election win. Prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler described it in opening remarks for Mr Reffitt’s trial as “worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812”, a date when British forces set fire to the White House.

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Peninsula man is latest Bay Area resident arrested in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach – Red Bluff Daily News

SAN FRANCISCO — A fifth Bay Area resident has been arrested and charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, court records show.

Kenneth Armstrong III, 52, of Pescadero, was charged with four federal offenses, including trespassing, two counts of disorderly conduct, and picketing in a Capitol. He faces up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine if convicted of the most serious charge.

Armstrong was identified by an anonymous tipster who contacted the FBI days after the Capitol riot. He was visited by FBI agents in March 2021 at his business in Half Moon Bay, freely admitted attending the Jan. 6 demonstration, and sent agents of a video he took of himself walking through the Capitol building, according to the criminal complaint.

Armstrong was arrested Thursday and spent a day at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. At his first court appearance Friday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim released him on a $10,000 unsecured bond. Federal prosecutors did not seek detention, nor ask that Armstrong be ordered not to possess guns.

His case is awaiting transfer for prosecution in Washington D.C., court records show. While on pretrial release, Armstrong must not travel to Washington D.C. unless for court, and cannot travel outside the United States without approval from pretrial services.

Armstrong’s attorney, federal public defender David Rizk, said in court Friday more restrictive conditions aren’t necessary because it’s a misdemeanor case and Armstrong was “completely forthcoming with the FBI.” He said he will likely handle Armstrong’s defense because the public defender’s office in Washington D.C. is “overwhelmed” with cases.

The FBI used surveillance pictures, as well as conversations from Armstrong’s Facebook account, to confirm his identity. In one Facebook post, Armstrong noted that “Capitol Police were very nice and helpful,” but also notes they were firing rubber bullets at the first people to enter the Capitol.

In another conversation, Armstrong said he stayed inside for a short time, took pictures and video and “sang the Star Spangled Banner.” Another user, responding to Armstrong, lamented that he or she was “friends with a traitor, a fascist, a liar, and a thug,” and says they’re unfriending him, according to a screenshot included in the complaint.

Armstrong is now the fifth Bay Area man the be charged in the riots, including one who remains a fugitive and is believed to have fled the country. A Gilroy woman, Mariposa Castro, has pleaded guilty to trespassing and is awaiting sentence, and a Sonoma resident, Daniel Shaw, was charged last month, though he was identified almost immediately after the Capitol breach, according to court records.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a “self-described Proud Boy” and San Francisco resident named Daniel Goodwyn was also charged, and that Evan Neumann, of Mill Valley, is believed to have fled to Belarus to avoid criminal charges.

An Arcata resident, Brent John Holdridge, was arrested and charged with similar offenses last month, after the FBI identified him from surveillance inside the Capitol, court records show.

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Judge Denies Capitol Riot Defendant Request to Travel to Jamaica

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Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine arrives at Capitol after 27 hours trapped among hundreds in snowstorm traffic jam

Kaine was stranded with hundreds of others on Interstate 95 in Virginia.

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine tweeted Tuesday that he was among the hundreds of people trapped overnight in a miles-long traffic jam on Interstate 95 in Virginia following a multi-vehicle accident Monday afternoon.

After nearly 27 grueling hours, Kaine announced that he finally made it to the Capitol.

“I did it — 26 hours and 45 minutes,” he told ABC News after arriving. “I am beat and I am very hungry.”

Kaine told ABC News he had one orange and one Dr. Pepper in the nearly 27 hours he was in the car and listened to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius XM radio to stay awake

The Virginia Democrat tweeted that he’d started his usual commute to the Capitol at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon and 19 hours later, he and other Virginians were still stuck in the traffic backup following a heavy snowstorm.

“I was freezing,” Kaine told ABC News. “It was about 11 or 12 degrees last night and you can’t just run the car all night long sitting still or you run out of gas, which you need for the next morning, so you kind of have to run the car for 10 minutes to heat it up then turn it off for an hour and then it gets cold again.”

A crash involving six tractor-trailers was first reported by the Virginia Department of Transportation at 1:30 p.m. Monday. Since then, drivers were stranded across a 48-mile stretch of highway as authorities worked to clear the traffic.

The giant traffic jam came amid a snowstorm that shut down much of the Washington area, creating hazardous travel conditions.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted Tuesday morning that his team has worked throughout the night to respond. An emergency message has been sent out to drivers trying to connect them with assistance.

VDOT said on Twitter that Interstate 95 remained shut down and “travel is expected to remain hazardous for most of the day.” There were no more drivers stranded by Tuesday afternoon, but crews were still working to remove empty vehicles so plows could come through.

In an interview with a local Washington TV station Tuesday morning, Northam was pressed over a lack of preparedness for the storm and potential driving hazards.

“It’s one step at a time and, you know, what happened after midnight is we just turned into a, literally a skating rink and trucks were jackknifing,” Northam told Fox 5 DC. “And once that happens — once you get the backup — it’s very, very difficult to get in our resources and get our equipment in. So, we’re just we’re going from both ends, as fast as we can, and doing everything that we can.”

Northam said earlier Tuesday that state authorities were not sure how long it would take to clear the road, but “we will give updates as needed through the day and again, some of these things are difficult to predict but I can tell you that there are a lot of people, whether it be the state police or emergency management, or VDOT folks, they are working as hard as they can to get to people and to clear the roads.”

The National Guard is on standby to potentially assist, but Northam said the problem right now is getting available resources where they need to go.

ABC News’ Davone Morales and Libby Cathey contributed to this report.

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How Two Governors in a Bathroom Changed California’s Capitol

SACRAMENTO — California’s big, domed, white Capitol is a grand and inspiring building. But California’s governor’s office? How to say this delicately?


That’s how Arnold Schwarzenegger put it this week as he remembered the grand tour the departing governor, Gray Davis, gave him shortly after Schwarzenegger won the 2003 election in which Davis was recalled.

The cramped quarters. The drab décor. The way you could walk right past the entrance — in a bland, six-story space completed in 1952 — and not even know its occupant was the leader of one of the world’s largest economies.

“He showed me the bathroom and I was like, ‘How do you have enough room even to pull your pants down?’” Schwarzenegger remembered, chomping a cigar and laughing during an interview on FaceTime from his home in Brentwood. “It was not at all what California is about. It was embarrassing.”

From that “pathetic” first impression came a plan that, nearly two decades later, is coming to fruition: an overhaul of the midcentury wing of offices known as the Capitol Annex where the governor, the lieutenant governor, all but five legislators and more than 1,000 staff members conduct the people’s business. Or at least a plan that will bring it into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Schwarzenegger commissioned a serious study that was waylaid by the Great Recession. His successor, Gov. Jerry Brown, revived the issue and won legislative funding for building upgrades. In 2017, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, a Sacramento-area Democrat who leads the joint legislative committee overseeing such matters, took the reins of what became a $1.2 billion-plus renovation project.

Now, in preparation for work to begin, the occupants of the Capitol Annex have begun moving to temporary quarters. “We’ve taken a page from Elvis and left the building,” joked H.D. Palmer, a deputy director of the state’s Department of Finance.

Cooley said the new $450 million state building, a block away, is already an improvement because “there aren’t any doghouses” — every legislative office has a window. A legislative staff member before joining the Assembly, he views the change as a strategic investment in good government.

The renovation, when complete, will not only address the Annex’s obvious issues — leaky plumbing, lack of sprinklers, halls and bathrooms that inadequately accommodate wheelchairs, floors that don’t match the floors of the 19th-century neo-Classical landmark onto which the Annex is attached. It also will expand office space and create suites big enough for committee chairs and their staffs to be near each other, the better to brainstorm.

“We shape our buildings,” Cooley said, quoting Winston Churchill. “And afterwards, they shape us.”

It is unclear when the Annex will fall: Several lawsuits are challenging the teardown. Among the objections are that the new project uproots historic trees, lacks alternatives to demolition and fails to consult with historic preservation officials. In a refrain that has vexed California developers for decades, one charges that the remodel violates the California Environmental Quality Act.

The litigation, however, will not stop initial work, such as asbestos removal. “Those projects will be necessary regardless,” Cooley said. The aim is to have the new addition ready to open by Sept. 9, 2025, California’s 175th anniversary of statehood.

Schwarzenegger’s annoyance with the Annex notwithstanding, he was renowned as a host there during his years in the governor’s office, which is built around a courtyard and colloquially known as “The Horseshoe.”

He brought a big statue of a grizzly bear back from a gallery in Aspen and installed it outside the governor’s doorway, where it became a wildly popular attraction for visiting school groups. (So many small hands petted it before it was roped off during the coronavirus pandemic that it became known around the Capitol as “Bacteria Bear”; it is now outside the new governor’s digs.) He also established a tent in the courtyard to accommodate cigar smoking. Later, Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has four children and many staff members who are young parents, installed a playhouse.

Brown, who is famously spare, did not complain personally about the accommodations, although a 2016 report from his administration called the Annex “aged, inefficient and inadequate.” But Schwarzenegger would pointedly meet visiting world leaders in Santa Monica in his big personal office, lined with showbiz memorabilia, rather than in Sacramento, where he said the governor’s suite couldn’t accommodate entourages.

“When you visit the governor in a great office, there’s a different respect and you can negotiate,” he said.

Mostly, however, he said, he felt the existing offices undersold the spirit of California.

“Little offices produce little,” he said. “You are not surrounded by a grand vision. This state has a history of big visions. We are the powerhouse of the United States.”

For more:

  • California’s main Capitol building, built between 1860 and 1874, was refurbished in 1982 and reopened in a howling rainstorm. “A cake made to resemble the Capitol was cut into slices by Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown Jr., who could not resist licking a finger he had plunged into the icing,” our correspondent wrote.

  • Along with the Annex renovations, The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Cooley is also overseeing about $100 million in Capitol security upgrades, the result of the Jan. 6 riot in Washington.

  • Schwarzenegger was in demand this year as Newsom beat back an attempted recall. We spoke to him at his Los Angeles mansion and shared the delicious outtakes here in California Today.

    Shawn Hubler is a reporter for The New York Times, based in Sacramento.

A father and son were arrested on suspicion of starting the Caldor fire.

This treat sandwiches raspberry jam between two buttery cookie layers.

Today’s travel tip comes from Lisa von Schlegell:

“I’ve rediscovered bicycling now that I’m retired — it feels like flying. An especially lovely bicycle ride, entirely off road and relatively flat, is in Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.

Starting at the Noyo Headlands Park parking lot off Cypress Street, one can fly along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific on the Ka Kahleh Trail, and then continue on to the Ten Mile Beach Trail for incredible beach and ocean views. There are always birds and flowers, and in season migrating whales spout offshore. Sometimes the trail becomes impassable at MacKerricher Beach, but most days one can ride a total of about 15 miles out and back. Bikes can be rented from Fort Bragg Cyclery, downtown, with easy access to the trail.

Afterward, nothing beats Princess Seafood Restaurant way at the end in Noyo Harbor, where one can sit outside on the deck overlooking the mouth of the harbor, watch the seals and fishing boats, and eat locally caught grilled fish. They’ve got lots of craft beer on tap and in bottles, including the local North Coast Brewing Co.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

The best songs of 2021.

Of the many beloved holiday traditions that were canceled last year because of the pandemic, few were as dispiriting to Southern Californians as the loss of the annual boat parades in Orange County. The nighttime processions of light-bedecked watercraft — more than a century old in at least one city — annually draw an audience of millions, who cheer on festive yachts, sailboats, motorboats, Duffy boats and humble kayaks.

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Capitol rioter Thomas Paul Conover arrested after bragging about drinking beer in Capitol on Jan. 6

In the weeks leading up to the riot, Conover echoed Trump’s false claims of a stolen election on social media, authorities say. The defendant, who is known as Paul Conover, decided last December to travel to Washington, prosecutors say, after a friend convinced him that he should help “take our country back.”

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Tip from dental office leads to arrest in US Capitol breach

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Democrat Charles Booker has raised more than $500,000 since forming an exploratory committee signaling his interest in challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul next year in Kentucky.

Booker, who nearly upset a well-funded Democratic rival in last year’s primary for the seat held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said Wednesday that his fundraising in the past month shows he would “have the resources needed to win” if he were to enter the race against Paul.

Booker, a Black former state lawmaker, would face a decidedly uphill challenge against Paul in Republican-trending Kentucky, which has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Wendell Ford in 1992. Paul, a former presidential candidate, will seek a third Senate term in 2022. Booker has not signaled when he will announce whether he’s formally entering the campaign.

Kentucky voters would be given a clear choice if Booker challenges Paul.

Paul is a libertarian-leaning conservative and ally of former President Donald Trump. Booker has embraced an unabashedly progressive agenda, touting racial and economic justice, universal access to health care and environmental activism.

Booker said Wednesday that the donations raised since forming his exploratory committee in April came from more than 13,000 contributors, with an average amount of nearly $29.

“I’m humbled and honored to see so many people across Kentucky and across America chipping in because of a shared belief in a better future,” Booker said.

Booker didn’t specify how many of the contributions came from Kentuckians.

Paul’s campaign had more than $3 million in the bank at the end of March.

Booker’s formation of an exploratory committee was a step short of officially launching his candidacy, but he’s long been seen as a leading Democratic prospect for the 2022 Senate race in Kentucky. Forming an exploratory committee allows Booker to poll, travel the state, make phone calls and fundraise while testing the waters without officially declaring himself as a candidate.

Booker’s early fundraising could solidify his position for the primary if he enters the race.

“If he keeps raising money at this pace, he will probably preclude any other strong candidate,” longtime political commentator Al Cross said.

Last year, McConnell trounced Democratic challenger Amy McGrath, who narrowly defeated Booker in Kentucky’s Democratic primary.

Booker seized momentum late in last year’s primary on the strength of a “Hood to the Holler” campaign that highlighted the common interests of Black Democrats in the cities and middle- and low-income white people in the mountains of eastern Kentucky — which he collectively has defined as “people in forgotten places.”

He fell short in part because thousands of Kentucky Democrats had already cast ballots during an extended early voting period created to keep voters safe during the coronavirus pandemic, blunting the impact of his late surge.

But Booker would be campaigning next year in a state that has turned decidedly Republican. The GOP holds both U.S. Senate seats from Kentucky, five of the six congressional seats and has overwhelming majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrat Andy Beshear holds the governorship, having narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent in 2019.

Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press

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Michigan man arrested after bragging about storming the Capitol on Facebook

Southgate resident Anthony Williams used Facebook to show off photos and videos of himself inside the U.S. Capitol, which gave law enforcement officials enough evidence to arrest him last week.

Williams — who was charged with obstruction of official proceedings, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct — is the sixth Michigan man arrested for their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot. Williams discussed plans to “storm the swamp” on Facebook weeks before he traveled to Washington, D.C., according to a federal criminal complaint, and later said it was the “proudest day of my life lol.”

Federal court records show Williams took photos and videos of himself throughout the day, posing with statues inside the Capitol Rotunda. In one video recorded outside the Capitol, Williams discussed how “we took this f—–g building” and “pushed back the cops.”

Anthony Williams

Anthony Williams poses inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 in this image posted to his Facebook account. The FBI included this image in a federal criminal complaint.

Williams called himself an “Operation Swamp Storm Veteran” in a Facebook post three days after the violent riot. He said he felt the Founding Fathers “smiling down on us” while occupying the U.S. Capitol, which caused members of Congress to evacuate the building and delayed the certification of the 2020 election.

U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Altman released Williams on March 26 on an unsecured bond of $10,000. He was required to surrender his passport and is prohibited from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapons for the duration of his court proceedings.

Williams is set to appear virtually in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on March 31, but prosecutors requested that his case be transferred to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.

The investigation started after the FBI received an online tip that included screenshots of Williams’ Facebook posts. Law enforcement officials identified Williams by matching his driver’s license photo to images posted to the Facebook profile.

Other records found a cell phone with a number belonging to Williams was located inside the Capitol.

Williams posted several times about his intent to travel to Washington, D.C. in the months after the November presidential election.

“Every lie will be revealed,” he posted on Nov. 13. “‘Americans’ who participated in fraudulent scheme to overthrow our duly elected president are TRAITORS. China orchestrated the attack and will pay severely for their transgression. American is a nation under a just GOD. Be prepared to #FightBack #HOLDTHELINE #Trump2020 #NoRetreatSurrender.”

Williams posted updates to Facebook as he traveled to Washington, D.C. He posted his location in Bedford County, Pennsylvania with the caption “Operation Storm the Swamp” and posed for a photo with five other men at a sports pub in Arlington, Virginia.

Anthony Williams

Anthony Williams poses with five other men while traveling to Washington, D.C. to join protests on Jan. 6 in this image posted to his Facebook account. The FBI included this image in a federal criminal complaint.

Williams was back on Facebook after he was released. He shared a news article about former President Donald Trump saying Capitol rioters posed “zero threat” in a recent Fox News interview.

Williams also posted a political cartoon depicting the Jan. 6 riots. The cartoon shows a Trump supporter opening the dome of the Capitol building to yell “Can you hear us now?” at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Ryan Kelley pushed to arrest lawmakers, then stormed the Capitol. Now he wants to be Michigan’s governor.

CMU suspends staff, launches investigation after students it sent to Lansing PR firm report sexual harassment

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Metro Detroit man bragged about storming U.S. Capitol during siege

Detroit — Federal agents Friday arrested a Troy man who is accused of breaking into the U.S. Capitol in January during a deadly siege and bragging how he “pushed back the cops.”

Anthony Robert Williams, 45, is the sixth person from Michigan charged in connection with the insurrection that followed a “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6 that included a speech by President Donald Trump.

FBI investigators portray Williams as a selfie-taking braggart and Trump supporter who disputed the presidential election results and recorded himself talking about his success breaking into the Capitol.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Williams said, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court.

Williams, a painter, is charged with illegally entering a restricted building, obstructing official proceedings, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a petition filed in federal court Friday. Prosecutors want to transfer Williams to federal court in Washington, D.C.

A masked Williams appeared briefly in federal court in Detroit wearing a red-and-black shirt. He received a court-appointed lawyer, Stacey Studnicki, who could not be reached for comment immediately Friday.

Williams was released on $10,000 unsecured bond and ordered to surrender his passport and attend a virtual court hearing in D.C. next week.

“You’re to stay away from Washington, D.C., except for court appearances or consultation with your attorney,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Altman told him. “Do you agree to abide by those conditions?”

“I do, 100 percent, your honor,” Williams said.

The Williams case started with an online tip that he broke into the Capitol along with hundreds of others during the siege. The tipster described since-deleted Facebook posts showing Williams inside the Capitol, according to an affidavit filed in court by an FBI agent.

Investigators found photos of Williams at the Capitol and obtained phone records showing his phone inside the building on Jan. 6, according to the FBI agent. Investigators have used digital tools to determine which phones connected to WiFi inside the building or nearby cell towers.

Facebook provided photos and videos from his account showing Williams inside the building, according to the government.

“In the videos, among other things, Williams discussed his success in entering the building, saying ‘desperate times call for desperate measures,'” the FBI agent wrote. “He also poses next to and around statues and in other areas of the Capitol.”

In another video, Williams talks about how he “stormed” the building and “pushed back the cops,”  the FBI agent wrote.

“We took this f—— building,” Williams said, according to the affidavit.

Facebook also provided posts that reveal Williams planned to travel to Washington, D.C., to “storm the swamp.” In one photo, Williams is shown in a bar with at least five others.

“Yep, we pissed and we coming to Congress,” he wrote in one post. “Be prepared to #FightBack.”

His Facebook page served as a travelogue of his trip to the nation’s capital. Williams posted photos during a stop in Pennsylvania with the caption “Operation Storm the Swamp,” according to the FBI.

In another post, Williams called himself an “Operation Storm Swamp Veteran” after the siege.

The charges come one week after Daniel Herendeen, 43, of Chesterfield Township and Bobby Schornak, 39, of Roseville were charged with obstructing Congress, breaking into the Capitol and disorderly conduct.

The men are portrayed in an unsealed FBI memo filed in federal court as friends who planned together to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally. The planning included packing body armor, a knife, helmets and gear that included “Antifa spray,” according to the FBI.

They are free on $10,000 unsecured bond.

More than 250 people have been charged with federal crimes for their roles in the siege and there are ongoing investigations targeting several hundred additional people, according to prosecutors.

“The spectrum of crimes charged and under investigation in connection with the Capitol Attack includes (but is not limited to) trespass, engaging in disruptive or violent conduct in the Capitol or on Capitol grounds, destruction of government property, theft of government property, assaults on federal and local police officers, firearms offenses, civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, possession and use of destructive devices, murder, sedition and conspiracy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Blackwell wrote in a court filing.

The three other Michiganians charged in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection are:

• Michael Joseph Foy, 30, of Wixom. Federal prosecutors said Foy on Jan. 6 struck law enforcement at least 10 times with a hockey stick that had carried a President Donald Trump flag earlier in the day. Foy, who is being held without bond, later rallied others to climb through broken windows in the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said, citing a YouTube video and police body camera footage. 

• Karl Dresch, 40, of Calumet was denied bond after allegedly entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

• James Allen Mels, 56, of Shelby Township. Mels posted selfies after entering the Capitol and told investigators he traveled to Washington, D.C., with 11 other “like minded Patriots” because “he believed the 2020 presidential election to have been fraudulently decided,” according to a federal court filing. The sheet metal worker was released on $10,000 unsecured bond following an initial appearance in federal court in Detroit.

Come back to for more on this developing story.

Twitter: @robertsnellnews 

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