Feds Indict First Two Capitol Riot Defendants

US
Protesters storm into the U.S. Capitol during clashes with police in Washington, D.C., January 6, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

The Justice Department on Monday filed the first two federal grand jury indictments against defendants connected to the deadly pro-Trump riot at the Capitol last week.

Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C. obtained grand jury indictments against at least two men accused of contributing to Wednesday’s violence. Both defendants were arrested last week.

Mark Leffingwell, 51, of Seattle, was charged with a felony related to interfering with law enforcement during a civil disorder as well as six other counts, including two counts of assault on a police officer. He was arrested but released on Friday and allowed to return to Washington state under a curfew.

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The indictment accuses Leffingwell of obstructing “the certification of the Electoral College of the 2020 Presidential Election by a joint session of Congress,” referring to the joint session of Congress that was ongoing when Trump supporters forced their way past security and marauded through the halls of Congress.

Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, of Falkville, Ala., was indicted on a federal felony charge of possession of an unregistered weapon as well as 16 violations of the Washington, D.C. city code. Police arrested Coffman near the Capitol on the day of the riot with 11 Molotov cocktails in his possession.

Coffman, who faces the most serious charges out of the more than 20 known federal defendants and remains in custody, was slated to appear in court Tuesday afternoon for a hearing considering his release.

“The amount of weapons suggests an intent to provide them to others, as no one person could reasonably use so many at once. The nature and seriousness of the danger that the defendant would pose if released cannot be overstated,” prosecutors wrote Tuesday in court documents requesting that Coffman remain in custody.

Prosecutors included photos of weapons and weapons paraphernalia found in Coffman’s possession, including ammunition, shotgun shells, and several guns including a shotgun, a rifle, and three pistols, all unregistered in Washington, D.C.

The photos also showed that the defendant had papers with the names of lawmakers and others.

The violence on January 6 resulted in five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Since then at least 55 criminal cases have been brought in connection with the riot.

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