A New York man pleaded guilty today to charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Aaron Mostofsky, 35, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder and misdemeanor charges of theft of government property and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds.
According to court documents, Mostofsky – dressed as a caveman and carrying a walking stick or rod – was among the crowd gathered at 12:55 p.m. Jan. 6 as rioters overwhelmed a police perimeter stationed near the Peace Circle, due west of the Capitol building. He and other rioters then reached the West Plaza. At about 1:35 p.m., he joined a group of rioters pushing against a police line that was attempting to limit the crowd’s access to the Capitol. Mostofsky used his weight and strength in the effort to break the police line. At about 2:09 p.m., he climbed exterior stairs to the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace, heading to the Senate Wing Door.
Enroute, he picked up a U.S. Capitol Police bullet-proof vest and donned it. Minutes later, the crowd broke windows next to the Senate Wing Door, entered the Capitol, and broke the door open from inside the building. Mostofsky entered through the door at 2:13 p.m., about the 12th person to get inside that way. He quickly picked up a U.S. Capitol Police riot shield that had been set aside by another rioter. He followed the crowd to a staircase, where they pursued a U.S. Capitol Police Officer upstairs and into the Ohio Clock Corridor, just outside the Senate Chamber. At approximately 2:36 p.m., after giving an interview to a reporter, Mostofsky left the building, taking the police vest and riot shield with him. He was stripped of the shield by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
Mostofsky was arrested on Jan. 12, 2021, in Brooklyn. He is to be sentenced on May 6, 2022. He faces up to five years in prison on the felony charge and a $250,000 fine. Each of the misdemeanors carries up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s New York and Washington Field Offices, which identified Mostofsky as #24 in its seeking information photos. Valuable assistance was provided by the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Capitol Police.
In the one year since Jan. 6, more than 725 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 225 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing. More than 165 individuals have pleaded guilty to federal charges, including 22 to felony offenses.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.