Florida man pleads guilty to role in Capitol riot

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A central Florida man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge related to storming the U.S. Capitol during the January 2021 insurrection.

Robert Flynt Fairchild Jr., 40, of Orlando, Florida, pleaded guilty to a civil disorder charge in District of Columbia federal court, according to court records. He faces up to five years in prison at an Aug. 22 sentencing hearing.

Fairchild was arrested in Orlando in August 2021.

According to court documents, Fairchild joined with others objecting to Democratic President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over former Republican President Donald Trump. A mob attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying election results, authorities said. Five people died in the violence.

According to the criminal complaint, Fairchild was part of a crowd at the Capitol’s then-restricted West Plaza. Fairchild stood at the front of the crowd and walked alongside the barriers. Prosecutors said he made multiple attempts to wrest the barriers from police officers. After the crowd moved at least two barriers, Fairchild illegally entered the Capitol through the Senate Wing Door.

Since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, officials said. More than 250 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

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