More than a dozen US Capitol rioters have now pleaded guilty
San Antonio loan officer Matthew Mazzocco pleaded guilty Friday to a misdemeanor charge related to the US Capitol insurrection.
A dozen Capitol rioters have already pleaded guilty, out of more than 510 defendants. And prosecutors are filing new cases at a steady clip — including in the past week against members of right-wing groups, QAnon supporters and people who allegedly smashed media equipment.
At least 13 Capitol rioters have pleaded guilty so far, according to CNN’s latest tally.
These guilty pleas have largely fallen into two categories. The first group includes rioters like Mazzocco who aren’t accused of violence and might avoid jailtime by pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor. The other category includes defendants with ties to extremist groups who are pleading guilty to felony charges, could face years in prison, and are now helping prosecutors.
Taken together, it’s clear that the Justice Department has been working toward resolving some of the cases in short order. Prosecutors have told judges that more plea agreements are expected in the coming weeks. Sentencing hearings are scheduled for this summer and fall.
During a plea hearing on Friday, Mazzocco admitted that he knew it was illegal to enter the Capitol when he breached the building on January 6.
His sentence will be decided by a federal judge on October 4.
As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to pay $500 to cover some of the damage to the Capitol, which has become the standard fine for rioters pleading to misdemeanors.
The Justice Department’s investigation into January 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the Capitol building in hopes of stopping Congress’ certification of the November 2020 election, has grown to be one of its largest investigations ever and a major law enforcement effort to address domestic terrorism.
There are more than 500 defendants, hailing from 43 states and Washington, DC.