A Florida man who stormed the Senate chamber on January 6 waving a Trump flag has become the second rioter to plead guilty-and his case is being closely watched by lawyers for other riot suspects not charged with violent crimes.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui agreed to dismiss the case against Kelly after prosecutors said in a court filing on Tuesday that they discussed the merits of the case with Kelly's lawyer and decided that ending the prosecution "serves the interests of justice" based on "the facts now known to the government".
The decision by Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui marks the first time a defendant in the Capitol riots cases has been cleared of all charges, and comes after a paid confidential source helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation build the case using information from Kelly's Facebook account. While he appeared before the court several times, the case was dismissed "without prejudice" a day before he was due to reappear on 2 June.
In an affidavit, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent said it appeared that Kelly used a Facebook account to inform "associates" that he had breached the Capitol and was inside the building. "God commands those who are good, not just to avoid evil but actively oppose it.' Where will you be on 1/6?", referencing the planned riot.
The post and a screenshot of someone purported to be Kelly in the Capitol led to a search warrant for his account, which provided investigators with his address, name, e-mail account, and other identifying information. Two days before the attack, he told another Facebook user that he planned to be in Washington "with ex NYPD and some proud boys", the agent said.
Since then, government prosecutors have indicated they are gearing up to start offering plea deals to dozens of other alleged rioters, marking a major new step in the investigation as it enters into its sixth month. "Stay safe, Antifa will be out in force", one Facebook friend said to Kelly shortly before the riot. An attorney for Kelly didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. "This will be the most historic event of my life".
(5) Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building. "Minutes later, he added "Tear gas, police, stopped the hearing, they are all headed to the basement", and, "(expletive) these snakes.