- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2021

Federal prosecutors on Monday filed charges against one of the speakers at former President Trump’s Stop the Steal rally, which occurred moments before a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Brandon Straka, 44, of Omaha, Nebraska, is the first speaker at the rally, which was headlined by Mr. Trump, to face criminal charges. He was arrested on a felony charge of interfering with police during civil disorder, unlawful entry, and disorderly conduct.

Prosecutors charged Mr. Straka for his alleged actions during the insurrection.

Court documents describe Mr. Straka as an organizer of the rally and quote his comments during the Jan. 6 event, but doesn’t say if those comments are connected to his actions at the Capitol.

Videos that captured the Capitol mayhem show Mr. Straka part of a crowd pushing toward a Capitol doorway, according to an FBI affidavit. The document doesn’t say that Mr. Straka entered the Capitol but alleges he chanted, “Go! Go!” as demonstrators stormed the entrance.

As a Capitol police officer tried to control the crowd with a riot shield over his head, Mr. Straka encouraged others to wrestle it from him.

“Take it away from him,” he yelled, according to court documents. “Take it! Take it!”

Multiple unnamed witnesses sent videos to the FBI detailing Mr. Straka’s actions, the FBI affidavit said.

Mr. Straka, who says he’s a former liberal, founded the WalkAway campaign, which he describes as a “grassroots movement.”

The campaign, started in 2018, “encourages and supports those on the left to walk away from the divisive tenants endorsed and mandated by the Democratic Party of today.”  

His first appearance in federal court will be Tuesday.

So far, more than 125 people have been arrested on charges related to the violent insurrection. A Capitol Police officer was among the five people killed during the assault. 

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