Missouri man seen with Pelosi nameplate charged in connection with Capitol riot
A Missouri man whose niece last month was charged in connection with the Capitol riot now faces charges himself after authorities identified him in a video holding a broken piece of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) nameplate.
Federal court records unsealed late Thursday detail that William Merry Jr. of St. Louis County has been charged with theft of government property, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, disorderly conduct, impeding the conduct of government business and disruptive conduct in the Capitol buildings.
The charges come nearly a month after his niece, Emily Hernandez, was hit with five charges in connection with the riot.
Federal authorities cited video and photos from the riot, in which both Hernandez and Merry, while wearing a “Trump 2020” hat, can allegedly be seen holding a piece of the nameplate that had been taken from the doorway of Pelosi’s office.
According to The Associated Press, Merry’s lawyer, Ethan Corlija, said Merry was taken into custody Thursday following a police search of his home.
Corlija added that Merry, who is in his 60s, is looking forward to “one day being able to get past this.”
“He’s not the type of individual who believes in any violence or any conduct that would harm anybody, so it’s a little atypical for him,” Corlija told the AP.
The attorney went on to say that Merry, “believes he had a right to attend a rally and voice his political beliefs like we all do, but he does not in any way shape or form condone any type of violence or property destruction or any type of insurrection of the government.”
Federal authorities so far have announced charges against more than 175 people in connection with the violent mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, with more anticipated in the coming weeks.
Several people died amid the chaos, including a Capitol Police officer and a woman shot by a plainclothes officer. Two additional officers who responded to the rioting have since died by suicide.