Southgate man who called Capitol riot 'proudest day of my life' convicted

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Anthony Robert Williams, of Southgate, poses in the U.S. Capitol after storming the building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Anthony Robert Williams, of Southgate, poses in the U.S. Capitol after storming the building on Jan. 6, 2021.

A federal jury has convicted a Southgate man of storming the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection — a crime that involved him pushing past cops, posing by statues inside the building, smoking weed in the Rotunda and then bragging about it on Facebook.

"Was the proudest day of my life lol," Anthony Robert Williams wrote in a social media post obtained by the FBI. "Felt like the founding fathers were smiling down on us in that room, and I guarantee my dad and gramps, both vets, would be proud."

Williams is facing up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in September.

According to court records, Williams was among the first inside the U.S. Capitol during the attack, which occurred as Congress was trying to certify the presidential election results that declared Joe Biden the winner.

Williams was in the Capitol for about an hour and later discussed his success entering the building in a video, saying “desperate times call for desperate measures,” court records state. In another video taken outside the Capitol, records show, Williams discussed how he and others “'stormed” the Capitol and "pushed back the cops," stating: "We took this f------ building."

According to the Department of Justice, in the weeks leading to the attack, Williams posted on social media that he intended to travel to Washington to “storm the swamp.” He used hashtags such as #TRUMPWON, #MAGASteppin, #HOLDTHELINE and #NORETREAT NO SURRENDER,” court records show, and recorded videos of himself inside the Capitol.

Anthony Robert Williams, of Southgate, inside the Rotunda during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Anthony Robert Williams, of Southgate, inside the Rotunda during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

According to the government, Williams was on the northwest stairs outside the building about 2:11 p.m. that day and used bike racks to help other rioters get on the stairs. Williams raised his arms as he scaled the railing after rioters broke through the line of officers, records show, and entered the Senate Wing door at 2:18 p.m. That was just five minutes after the first breach of the building.

Williams then went to the Crypt and was close to the front of the line of officers when rioters broke through, authorities said. He then made his way to the Rotunda, where he filmed himself making statements such as “desperate times, desperate measures.”

Related: Traverse City man charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot; feds say he fought the cops

More: FBI arrests Ryan Kelley, Michigan gubernatorial candidate, on charges stemming from Jan. 6

Anthony Robert Williams, of Southgate, poses in front of statues after breaking into the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
Anthony Robert Williams, of Southgate, poses in front of statues after breaking into the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

Four months later, the government said, Williams again boasted about his actions, stating in an April 19 post: “I was in the Capitol and have absolutely no remorse or fear in saying or doing it.”

Williams' court-appointed attorney, Benton Martin, declined comment.

To date, more than a dozen Michiganders have been arrested for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 attack, including GOP gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley, who was arrested and charged last month after the FBI raided his Allendale home.

Williams was arrested March 26 in Detroit. A tipster had alerted the FBI about his actions and an investigation followed. He will be sentenced Sept. 16 in Washington D.C. He was convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding — a felony — and four related misdemeanor charges, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol Building.

Nationwide, more than 840 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol breach, including more than 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation is ongoing.

The FBI is urging anyone with tips to call 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or go to tips.fbi.gov

Contact Tresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepress.com

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan man who helped lead Capitol riot convicted by federal jury