The son of a prominent conservative activist has been convicted of charges that he stormed the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, bashed in a window, chased a police officer, invaded the Senate floor and helped a mob disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
Leo Brent Bozell IV, 44, of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, was found guilty on Friday of 10 charges, including five felony offenses, after a trial decided by a federal judge, according to the federal justice department.
Bozell’s father is Brent Bozell III, who founded the Media Research Center, Parents Television Council and other conservative media organizations.
The US district judge John Bates heard testimony without a jury before convicting Bozell of charges including obstructing the January 6 joint session of Congress convened to certify the electoral college vote that Biden won over then president Donald Trump, a Republican.
Bozell was “a major contributor to the chaos, the destruction and the obstruction at the Capitol on 6 January 2021”, prosecutors said in a pretrial court filing.
The judge is scheduled to sentence Bozell on 9 January.
Bozell’s lawyer, William Shipley Jr, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Saturday.
Prosecutors said that before the riot, Bozell helped plan and coordinate events in Washington in support of Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement. They said that after Trump’s rally near the White House on 6 January, Bozell marched to the Capitol and joined a mob in breaking through a police line. He smashed a window next to the Senate wing door, creating an entry point for hundreds of rioters, according to prosecutors.
After climbing through the smashed window, Bozell joined other rioters in chasing a Capitol police officer, Eugene Goodman, up a staircase to an area where other officers confronted the group.
Later, Bozell was captured on video entering the office of the then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat. He appeared to have something in his hand when he left, prosecutors said.
Entering the Senate gallery, Bozell moved a C-Span camera to face the ground so it could not record rioters ransacking the chamber on a live video feed. He also spent several minutes on the Senate floor.
Bozell roamed thorough the Capitol for nearly an hour, reaching more than a dozen different parts of the building and passing through at least seven police lines before officers escorted him out, prosecutors said.
In a pretrial court filing, Bozell’s lawyer denied that Bozell helped overwhelm a police line or engaged in any violence against police.
“In fact, video evidence will show that Mr Bozell assisted in some small way law enforcement officers that he thought could be helped by his assistance,” Shipley wrote.
Shipley also argued that Bozell “was – for the most part – simply lost and wandering from place-to-place observing events as they transpired”.
Bozell was arrested in February 2021. An FBI tipster who identified Bozell recognized him in part from the “Hershey Christian Academy” sweatshirt that he wore on January 6.
More than 1,100 people have been charged with Capitol attack-related federal crimes. More than 650 of them have pleaded guilty. Approximately 140 others have been convicted by judges or juries after trials in Washington.