Maybe today will be different, but allowing a powerful criminal to escape justice while throwing the book at less significant lawbreakers simply doesn’t represent our American values.
Hector Emmanuel Vargas Santos was arrested on January 19, 2021, he made his initial appearance on January 22, and he was convicted on December 13, 2022, after a five-day jury trial in the United States District Court in Washington, D.C.
Another New Jersey man—Peter Michael Krill—was arrested Thursday, December 15, 2022, on two felony charges for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, including assaulting a law enforcement officer.
The person whose lies incited the insurrection remains free despite additional crimes indicated by an FBI raid on his Florida home that recovered top secret documents stolen from the White House, a grand jury investigating his attempt to pressure Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to tamper with election results in Georgia, the multiple instances of obstruction of justice described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report beginning on Page 208.
The Department of Justice special counsel overseeing two criminal investigations of former President Donald Trump, Jack Smith, has issued a subpoena to Georgia’s secretary of state.
The subpoena seeking documents from Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger appears connected to the probe focused on Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The special counsel also is investigating Trump for his removal of government documents from the White House when he left office.
An FBI raid of Trump’s residence at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, found thousands of government records, more than 100 of which were marked classified or highly classified.
The House Jan. 6 select committee is preparing to vote on urging the Justice Department to pursue at least three criminal charges against former President Donald Trump, including insurrection. The panel is expected to consider on Monday afternoon a set of criminal referrals that proposes charges for Trump including: 18 U.S.C. 2383, insurrection; 18 U.S.C. 1512(c), obstruction of an official proceeding; and 18 U.S.C. 371, conspiracy to defraud the United States government.
Vargas Santos, 29, of Jersey City, was found guilty in Washington, D.C., federal court of entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a capitol building; parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol Building, according to a jury verdict form.
Jersey City Councilman at Large Daniel Rivera, who reportedly worked alongside Vargas distributing food to the homeless in Journal Square and in city-sponsored cleanup projects, said: “Hector was one of the few people out here extending himself from the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.”
Krill, 54, of Sewell, New Jersey, is charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of Columbia with assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers; and civil disorder. He is also chared with four misdemeanors: knowingly entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Krill was arrested Thursday morning in Sewell, NJ. He made his initial appearance in the District of New Jersey.
According to court documents, law enforcement officers reviewed footage from the body worn cameras (“BWC”) of Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers present at the U.S. Capitol. At approximately 1:35 pm, an individual later identified as Krill can be seen in the BWC footage grabbing the barricade and pulling it away from the officers, briefly allowing a group of protesters to push into the officers before being pushed back behind the barricade.
Law enforcement officers also reviewed surveillance video from cameras mounted within the U.S. Capitol Building and observed an individual, later identified as Krill, entering the U.S. Capitol Building from the Upper West Terrace door at approximately 2:36 p.m. EST and exiting the U.S. Capitol Building from the east side of the Capitol at approximately 3:23 p.m. EST.
This 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 District of New Jersey.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office South Jersey Resident Agency and the FBI’s Washington Field Office. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 23 months since Jan. 6, 2021, close to 900 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 270 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.