A former Trump administration State Department official accused of being part of the 6 January Capitol riots will likely be offered a plea deal, prosecutors said on Monday in court in Washington, DC.
Federico Klein, who was appointed to the agency in 2017, is accused of unlawful entry, violent and disorderly conduct, obstructing Congress and law enforcement, and assault with a dangerous weapon for his role in the attack on the Capitol. Prosecutors say Mr Klein, captured on video in the riots wearing a Make America Great Again hat, tried to bash a police officer with a riot shield he had stolen.
Mr Klein’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
The former official is expected back in court in June, according to NBC Washington, which first reported the likely plea deal, whose terms are not yet public. Most federal cases end in such agreements, though the case is a notable one nonetheless because Mr Klein is the only Trump administration official who has been arrested in connection with the riot.
Mr Klein, who has been released from jail pending a trial, was a military veteran and mid-level State Department aide with top secret security clearance who prosecutors accused of being part of the “first wave” of Capitol attackers.
"There were enemies at the heart of American democracy, and a person who swore an oath switched sides," US magistrate judge Zia Faruqui said earlier this year.
At one point, Mr Klein even appeared to be directing the riots, calling out, “We need fresh people,” to the crowd of people besieging Capitol police officers, according to prosecutors.
As of last Thursday, 440 people have been arrested in connection with the riots, and 100 more could be charged, according to federal officials, who called the Capitol case “the most complex investigation ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”
Still, despite these arrests, some of the officers attacked at the Capitol have slammed elected leaders for their “indifference” towards holding those responsible for the attacks accountable.
Following the riot, Mr Trump became the first president to be impeached twice, but he escaped conviction in the Senate with numerous Republican votes for acquittal.
Senators like Josh Hawley, one of the key leaders in challenging the election results in Congress, have stuck by their stance in recent days. On a recent Washington Post broadcast, he defended an infamous photo of him offering a celebratory fist pump to a crowd of Trump supporters outside the Capitol moments before the riots began.
“I waved to them, gave them the thumbs up, pumped my fist to them and thanked them for being there, and they had every right to do that,” the Missouri Republican said last week on theWashington Post Live broadcast.
Meanwhile, in many of the states where Republicans accused the election system of being unfair, the same legislators are pushing through a host of bills that would likely depress voter turnout under the rationale of tackling voter fraud, a largely non-existent phenomenon.
At the federal level, a sweeping voting rights bill that would do things like end felon disenfranchisement and require independently drawn congressional districts faces stiff opposition in the Senate.