Pasco County man pleads guilty to Capitol riot charge

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pasco County man pleaded guilty Thursday to an offense committed during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Ryan K. Yates, 37, of Holiday, was arrested by the FBI over two years after a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

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He was charged with civil disorder, entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building. Yates pleaded guilty to the felony civil disorder charge on Thursday.

<em>Travel of a device using the Yates email through the Capitol (DOJ)</em>
Travel of a device using the Yates email through the Capitol (DOJ)

Data obtained from Google pointed investigators to Yates, according to court documents. His location data placed him at several locations within the building and Capitol grounds, which was corroborated by security camera footage and bystander video.

Wearing a camouflage-colored “Make America Great Again” hat and white gloves, Yates was photographed moving police barricades, which allowed the crowd to reach the Capitol. Once inside, he walked to the House of Representatives side of the building and stood near a group that was trying to break in to the chamber.

<em>Yates on the National Mall (left) and moving barricades (right). (DOJ)</em>
Yates on the National Mall (left) and moving barricades (right). (DOJ)

He later appeared as part of a mob trying to breach the police line in the Rotunda.

“He worked his way to the front of the group, and, along with a handful of other rioters, was able to push against police to get inside the Rotunda itself before officers were able to get the door closed,” the criminal complaint stated.

<em>Yates at the Rotunda doors (left) and Yates being escorted from the Rotunda (right). (DOJ)</em>
Yates at the Rotunda doors (left) and Yates being escorted from the Rotunda (right). (DOJ)

Security cameras captured Yates being escorted out of the Rotunda with his arms raised. He then left the Capitol.

The FBI’s Tampa office confirmed Yates’ identity in the photos and videos after interviewing him. A “close associate” verified that he appeared in the images and sent agents a years-old photo of Yates in the same hoodie he wore to the Capitol.

Yates’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 12. He faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine or supervised release period for the civil disorder charge.

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