Mother-son duo facing conspiracy charges for role in Capitol assault

Kyle Cheney
·2 min read

A mother-son duo who wielded flex cuffs at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — and openly talked of a violent revolution — are facing conspiracy charges related to the assault on Congress last week, with the FBI describing a plot that may include others "known and unknown" to federal authorities.

In a Saturday legal filing, the FBI indicated that Eric Munchel — who was seen masked and wielding the plastic cuffs inside the Senate chamber in a now widely circulated image — and his mother Lisa Eisenhart would face charges of conspiracy for their efforts to disrupt lawmakers' efforts to certify the presidential election.

Munchel and Eisenhart are facing charges of "knowingly and willfully conspiring with persons known and unknown" to impede law enforcement, unlawfully entering a restricted building and violently forcing their way into the halls of Congress.

Munchel had been apprehended earlier in the week, but Eisenhart was arrested Saturday in Tennessee and the charges updated to include conspiracy.

It's a notable development in the nationwide manhunt for the perpetrators of the Jan. 6 attack, which left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Dozens have been arrested and the FBI is pursuing hundreds of cases, often based on the images and videos that the rioters posted themselves on social media.

Prosecutors have indicated they anticipate lodging grave charges, including potentially "seditious conspiracy," but have begun by apprehending suspects on lesser offenses to begin building a broader case.

Although Munchel was masked in the Senate image, the FBI relied on open-source information and distinct patches and symbols on his clothing, as well as surveillance footage and other video shot at the hotel where the pair were staying to identify them. They have since searched Munchel's home and discovered the items seen in the Capitol picture, including "distinctive black in color Black Rifle Coffee Company hat with American flag and rifle logo, black boots, black camouflaged pants and shirt, and black tactical vest with patches to one of a Punisher logo.

"Also found inside of MUNCHEL’s home were five pairs of white flex cuffs," the FBI noted.

According to the newly disclosed case against the pair, Munchel and Eisenhart appear in video footage near a mob that was "physically attacking two Capitol Police officers guarding entry into the Senate chambers." Eventually, the officers fled and the mob gave chase. Munchel and Eisenhart followed, both wielding the flex cuffs in their hands "during the pursuit." Both officers escaped, according to the statement of the case.

The FBI also cited a Jan. 10 news article in the Times of London quoting Munchel and Eisenhart discussing revolution.

“This country was founded on revolution. ... I’d rather die a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression," Eisenhart told the paper. "I’d rather die and would rather fight.”