WASHINGTON (CN) — A Pennsylvania man who chartered buses to bring 200 people to former President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6 pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor offense in the Capitol riot.
Frank Scavo, a well-known Republican candidate and political activist in northeast Pennsylvania, admitted to organizing and chartering the buses during two interviews with the FBI. He claimed that he was pushed inside the Capitol because of the movement of the crowd. Undercutting the argument that he was pushed inside voluntarily, however, Scavo recorded video of the melee that shows him, wearing a face mask that says “END THE RAIN TAX," wandering around the Capitol while joining in chants of “Treason!” and “Defend the Constitution, defend your liberty!”
Scavo even gave his phone at one point to a fellow rioter so that he could pose for a photograph in front of a large painting of a scene from the War of 1812.
In one of his self-recorded videos, Scavo turns the camera on himself and says, “This is top-secret shit. We’re in the Capitol. Stormed the fucking Capitol of the fucking United States at 58 years old. What the fuck is wrong with America?” In another, he says, “Your own personal tour of the freaking Capitol. We fucking took it back. Took it back.”
In court Wednesday, Scavo’s attorneys told U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth that Scavo has entered into a cooperation agreement with the Department of Justice.
“He is ever regretful of having committed this crime,” they said.
Like many nonviolent Capitol rioters who are striking deals to avoid trial, Scavo pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Another version of this plea came Wednesday from Russell James Peterson, a 34-year-old man who drove from Pennsylvania to the U.S. Capitol with his mother.
Peterson’s mother posted on Facebook, bragging that her son stormed the U.S. Capitol building and “sat in Pelosi’s chair,” though court documents don’t confirm that he even entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.
Peterson livestreamed his time in the building, showing him dressed in a hoodie that showed a stick figure mounted on the words "Your Feelings."
Scavo and Peterson face up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine, though other rioters to accept the same plea deal have evaded prison time.
Scavo’s sentencing hearing is on Nov. 22 and Peterson’s sentencing hearing is on Dec. 1.
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