A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia has returned an indictment charging a Hawaii man who purports to have founded the Honolulu chapter of the Proud Boys and a Texas man with conspiring to obstruct the United States Congress’ certification of the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, as well as other crimes they committed to achieve that goal. Together, and with others, the two men planned and raised money for their effort, and then traveled to Washington, D.C., where they joined a crowd that stormed past barricades and law enforcement officers to halt a Joint Session of the U.S. Congress on January 6.
John C. Demers, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Michael R. Sherwin, the Acting United States Attorney for the District of Columbia; and Steven D’Antuono, the Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office announced the indictment.
Nicholas DeCarlo, 30, of Burleson, Texas, and Nicholas R. Ochs, 34, of Honolulu, Hawaii, were each indicted for conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 371, that is, to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2); one count of theft of federal government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641; one count of depredation against federal government property, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1361; and three counts of unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, or violent conduct in restricted buildings or grounds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1752(a)(1), (2), and (4).
The indictment was unsealed this afternoon. DeCarlo and Ochs previously were taken into custody on January 26 and January 7, respectively. The defendants will be arraigned before a United States District Judge.
The indictment against DeCarlo and Ochs alleges that prior to January 6, DeCarlo and Ochs agreed to travel to Washington, D.C., in order to stop, delay, and hinder the certification of the results of the November 2020 Presidential Election. To advance and finance that effort, the indictment alleges, DeCarlo and Ochs, using the Internet, raised funds to support their travel and, on January 5, did travel from their respective locations in Texas and Hawaii to Washington, D.C.
The indictment further alleges that on January 6, DeCarlo, Ochs, and other individuals entered the Capitol building behind an initial wave of individuals who had stormed the Capitol building unlawfully. Thereafter, DeCarlo and Ochs traveled throughout and occupied the Capitol building, depicting their actions inside the building in real time through photographs and videos that they posted to social media. While on U.S. Capitol grounds unlawfully, DeCarlo and Ochs defaced the U.S. Capitol by scrawling onto its Memorial Door the words “MURDER THE MEDIA[.]”
Also, according to the indictment, DeCarlo and Ochs stole a pair of flexible handcuffs belonging to the United States Capitol Police.
This case is 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. The indictment is the result of an ongoing investigation by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the United States Capitol Police, along with the Media Assault Strike Force of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, a specialized team staffed by senior prosecutors highly experienced in investigating and prosecuting cases involving victims of violent crime and focused on potential assaults, threats, and property damage directed at members of the media.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. If convicted, DeCarlo and Ochs each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and 3 years of supervised release.
The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest. Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email [email protected] or submit information anonymously via ReportIt.com.
The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at fbi.gov/USCapitol.
The FBI also urges anyone with information about or anyone who witnessed any unlawful action against any member of the media to contact the FBI’s Toll-Free Tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) to report potential leads. In particular, the FBI seeks help in identifying persons depicted in photos taken during assaults on media members. The FBI has posted these photos on its website at https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/capitol-violence, which can be sorted by the label “Assault on Media”, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/FBIWFO/status/1357062685461008385 and https://twitter.com/FBIWFO/status/1354991604663255045.
The United States Attorney’s Office strongly encourages members of the press to report any instances where a reporter, journalist, photographer, videographer, or other media personnel was assaulted or threatened, or where their property was damaged or destroyed by the rioters on January 6. Such information will help secure the First Amendment rights of all press personnel. Any information, including video and photographic evidence, can be emailed to [email protected].