April 1, 2023

A United States man accused of utilizing a stun gun in opposition to a Metropolitan Police officer Michael Fanone has pleaded responsible to his function within the Capitol assault on January 6, 2021,

Daniel “DJ” Rodriguez, a 40-year-old from Fontana, California, submitted his determination to a US District Courtroom on Tuesday, turning into certainly one of almost 500 people to enter a responsible plea for collaborating within the riot on the US Capitol constructing led by supporters of then-President Donald Trump,

Greater than 985 defendants have been arrested up to now in relation to the January 6 assault, in accordance with estimates from the US Justice Division. Rodriguez was confronted with 4 federal costs, together with conspiracy, obstruction of an official continuing, obstruction of justice and assaulting a legislation enforcement officer.

He’s alleged to have performed a central function within the assault on Fanone, a law-enforcement officer who has since change into a outstanding outspoken determine concerning the violence that unfolded that day.

on the second anniversary of the assault final month, Fanone was among the many 14 people to obtain the Presidential Residents Medal from present President Joe Biden, the second-highest civilian award within the US.

Fanone stated he suffered a coronary heart assault and mind harm because of the Capitol riot, which noticed Trump supporters try to disrupt Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election outcomes,

Rodriguez had beforehand admitted to utilizing a stun gun on Fanone in an interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), after he was arrested in March 2021. However legal professionals for the protection tried to bar Rodriguez’s phrases from being utilized in court docket, claiming the The FBI used “psychologically coercive techniques” to get their purchasers to speak.

Prosecutors stated that, within the autumn earlier than the Capitol assault, Rodriguez and others organized a gaggle chat on the encrypted messaging service Telegram. They named the discussion board “Patriots 45 MAGA Gang”, a reference to Trump – the forty fifth president – ​​and his slogan “Make America Nice Once more”, abbreviated as MAGA.

There, Rodriguez was amongst these posting about plans to attend the January 6 cease the steal rally in Washington, DC, the place Trump was scheduled to talk. The then-president had been spreading the false declare that his defeat within the 2020 election was as a consequence of “rigged” outcomes and fraud,

The rally was set for a similar day as Congress’s certification of the Electoral School votes, displaying Democrat Joe Biden to have received the presidency.

“Congress can hold. I am going to do it. Please allow us to get these individuals pricey God,” Rodriguez is alleged to have posted within the group chat. On the day earlier than the Capitol assault, prosecutors say he wrote: “There shall be blood. Welcome to the revolution.

On January 6, Rodriguez is alleged to have walked from the rally down Pennsylvania Avenue, arriving on the decrease west terrace of the Capitol.

Confronted with law enforcement officials, Rodriguez is claimed to have “participated in a ‘heave ho’ effort with different rioters” to make his method by way of barricades and right into a tunnel the place a door into the Capitol was situated.

Whereas attempting to breach the door, prosecutors say he threw a flagpole and sprayed a fireplace extinguisher at legislation enforcement.

Within the midst of the melee Officer Fanone was pulled from the police line and dragged into the gang. Rodriguez, who had been equipped with a “small, black electroshock weapon” by one other rioter, allegedly used the stun gun twice on the again of Fanone’s neck.

“As a result of I used to be among the many vastly outnumbered group of legislation enforcement officers defending the Capitol and the individuals inside it, I used to be grabbed, overwhelmed, Tased all of the whereas being referred to as a traitor to my nation,” Fanone later testified earlier than a now-disbanded committee within the US Home of Representatives charged with investigating the Capitol assault,

“I used to be liable to being stripped of and killed with my very own firearm, as I heard chants of, ‘Kill him along with his personal gun.’ I can nonetheless hear these phrases in my head immediately,” Fanone stated.

After tasing Fanone, Rodriguez is accused of breaking a window as he entered the Capitol, rifling by way of workplaces and congressional papers to search for “intel”. Prosecutors additionally say he wrote an replace within the group chat after encountering Fanone: “Tazzzzed the f*** out of the blue,” a reference to the police.

Rodriguez has since expressed regret for his actions, telling FBI brokers after his arrest that his actions have been “silly”. Within the FBI interview, he additionally defined that he sincerely felt he was doing the “proper factor” to “save the nation”.

Others accused in Fanone’s beating have likewise confronted federal costs and prolonged sentences. A person named Albuquerque Cosper Head obtained a jail time period of greater than seven years for allegedly pulling Fanone by the neck right into a crowd of rioters. One other defendant, Kyle Younger, obtained seven years and two months for his half in Fanone’s assault.

Rodriguez is scheduled to look earlier than US District Courtroom Choose Amy Berman Jackson in Might to obtain his sentence.

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