A mother and son, from Tennessee, have been found guilty in the District of Columbia of felony charges for their actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Their actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Eric Gavelek Munchel, 32, of Nashville, Tennessee, and Lisa Marie Eisenhart, 59, of Woodstock, Georgia were found guilty Tuesday following a stipulated bench trial before U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 8, 2023.
The two were found guilty of: conspiracy to commit obstruction and obstruction of an official proceeding, both felonies, as well as entering and remaining in a gallery of Congress, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Munchel alone was found guilty of two additional felonies: disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and unauthorized possession of a deadly or dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds.
According to evidence presented to the court and facts admitted by the defendants, Munchel and Eisenhart entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 to disrupt Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election. As they approached the Capitol building, they saw other rioters fighting with police and encouraged them to do so. They experienced police wearing body armor and using chemical irritants and gas to repel rioters like themselves, but they were not deterred. Instead, even though they were aware their actions were unlawful, they pushed forward, past police lines, and entered the Capitol building. Once inside, they penetrated all the way to the Senate Gallery. Photos and video captured Munchel and Eisenhart wearing tactical vests and carrying plastic zip tie-style handcuffs that they stole from a closet inside the Capitol. Additionally, Munchel had a Taser holstered on his right hip. While inside the Senate and carrying the stolen restraints, Munchel and Eisenhart wondered aloud where the “traitors” and “cowards”—meaning the Senators—had gone. Later, both Munchel and Eisenhart gave statements to a reporter in which they acknowledged that their actions were intended to intimidate Congress.
These cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
The cases were investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the FBI’s Nashville Field Office, the FBI’s Memphis Field Office, and the United States Capitol Police.
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.