Missouri man seen with Pelosi nameplate in Capitol riot charged weeks after niece
Written by kslmadmin on February 7, 2021
A Missouri man whose niece was charged last month with participating in the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol is now facing charges of his own, after prosecutors say the pair posed with a piece of a nameplate taken from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s office.
A federal complaint against William Merry Jr. of St. Louis County was unsealed late Thursday, The Associated Press first reported.
As of Sunday, his name was not listed on the Capitol Breach Cases page on the Justice Department website, where the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia keeps track of those facing charges in connection to the insurrection on Jan. 6.
Merry is the uncle of Emily Hernandez, 21, of Sullivan, Mo., who was charged on Jan. 15.
Prosecutors say Merry and Hernandez were among hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing lawmakers inside to go into hiding. It happened after Trump addressed a crowd near the White House, and rioters proceeded to breach the Capitol building, temporarily preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
A Capitol Police officer was among five people who died as a result of the violence.
A charging document viewed by the AP says video and photos show Hernandez and Merry holding a broken piece of the nameplate ripped from the wall outside Pelosi’s office. The document says several tipsters provided information that helped lead to Merry’s arrest.
Merry is charged with theft of government property, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct impeding the conduct of government business, and disruptive conduct in the Capitol building.
His lawyer, Ethan Corlija, told the AP that Merry was arrested Thursday after police searched his home. He said Merry, who is in his 60s, looks forward to “one day being able to get past this.”
“He’s not the type of individual who believes in any violence or any conduct that would harm anybody, so it’s a little atypical for him,” Corlija said Friday. “He believes he had a right to attend a rally and voice his political beliefs like we all do, but he does not in any way shape or form condone any type of violence or property destruction or any type of insurrection of the government.”
The separate statement of facts submitted in court in connection to the case against Hernandez says that at least three tipsters identified her from ITV news coverage of the riot, as well as her own social media accounts. She is seen both inside and outside the building, holding the fractured wooden Pelosi’s sign, prosecutors said.
Another Missouri man, Paul Westover, 52, of Lake St. Louis, was charged Thursday with four counts for his alleged role in the riot.
Zachary Martin of Springfield, Mo., is charged with engaging in illegal activities on Capitol grounds, disorderly conduct and demonstrating inside the building.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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