WASHINGTON — The Justice Department unsealed charges related to the Capitol riot on Thursday against a conservative organizer.
Brandon Prenzlin, of Arlington, Virginia, was arrested Friday on four misdemeanor counts in connection with the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. He was released Monday on a personal recognizance bond.
In charging documents filed in D.C. District Court, the FBI says a confidential human source identified Prenzlin in a livestream recorded inside the Capitol on January 6. Investigators then matched CCTV images and body-worn camera footage with publicly available images from Prenzlin’s social media accounts, including a March 11 video on his Twitter account in which he identifies himself as a grassroots organizer for FreedomWorks and says he is delivering signatures to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) urging him to defend the filibuster.
The FBI took a number of further steps to confirm Prenzlin’s identity, including sending an agent to conduct surveillance on him entering the security line at Washington Reagan National Airport. Investigators say Prenzlin can be seen in multiple photos at the Capitol, on his social media page and in the surveillance images at Reagan wearing the same blue shoes.
As of Thursday morning, Prenzlin was no longer listed on FreedomWorks’ staff page, although a search of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine shows he still appeared on the page as recently as September 8. The organization was founded in 2004 as a splinter group of the Koch-funded Citizens for a Sound Economy, and bills itself as a network of activists advocating for smaller government, lower taxes and free markets. On Thursday afternoon, FreedomWorks told WUSA9 Prenzlin was no longer employed with the organization as of Monday.
While more than 600 people have now been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, Prenzlin is one of only a handful from the D.C. area to be arrested. Others include Federico Klein, who was on January 6 a State Department appointee of former President Donald Trump, and Fi Duong, an Alexandria man accused of surveilling the U.S. Capitol with a militia group masking itself as a Bible study.
Prenzlin is facing what have become the standard four misdemeanor counts in the January 6 case:
- Entering a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority
- Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
- Disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
- Parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
A preliminary hearing was set for Prenzlin for November 30 by virtual conference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather.
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