29-year-old Anthony Alexander Antonio from Delaware has pleaded guilty to his role in the infamous Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. The shocking incident, which made headlines worldwide, saw Antonio engage in a violent confrontation with officers at the Capitol, culminating in a charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting.
U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson has set the sentencing hearing for Aug. 23, following Antonio’s dramatic admission. His involvement in the riot included physically battling with officers for hours and refusing to leave the scene until he was sprayed with a chemical irritant.
Antonio’s attorney shed light on his client’s mindset, attributing his actions to what was termed as ‘Foxitus’ or ‘Foxmania,’ suggesting a deep immersion in political propaganda fed to him. This defense points to the broader controversy surrounding Fox News and its role in amplifying former President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims about the 2020 election being stolen.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) presented a compelling array of evidence against Antonio, painting a vivid picture of his participation in the riot. Dressed in a black tactical bulletproof vest with “Three Percenters” emblazoned on it, Antonio was captured on camera aggressively confronting police officers and wielding a stolen police shield.
One of the more harrowing moments detailed by the DOJ involved Antonio spraying water and throwing his water bottle at a Metropolitan Police Department officer who was being dragged by other rioters. His audacious behavior continued as he forcefully pushed and grappled with officers in the tunnel and even took a gas mask belonging to one of them.
In a brazen act captured on a body camera, Antonio declared, “We will not back down,” directly into the lens. Later, in an interview on the Capitol grounds, he recounted the events, admitting to breaking a window to enter the building and describing the chaos and violence that ensued inside.
Antonio’s attorney, Joseph Hurley, portrayed his client as someone who believed he was following Trump’s orders and participating in a patriotic movement. However, in a moment of reflection during a CNN interview after being charged, Antonio expressed regret, acknowledging the inappropriateness of attacking law enforcement and the American government.
As one of over 1,230 individuals charged in connection with the Capitol breach, Antonio’s guilty plea adds another chapter to the ongoing saga of the Jan. 6 riot, a day that has left an indelible mark on American history and continues to stir intense debate and scrutiny.