Riot Defendant Pleads Not Guilty

Accused of taking part in Capitol attack 

A Beacon man accused of being a member of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has pleaded not guilty in federal court.

William Pepe, in a photo provided to the FBI by Metro-North

William Pepe, 31, appeared by video at his arraignment on Tuesday (Feb. 9) before a federal judge in Washington, D.C. He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy; civil disorder; unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds; and disorderly and disruptive conduct in restricted buildings or grounds. Prosecutors accuse Pepe of being a member of the Proud Boys, a white nationalist group.

A co-defendant, Dominic Pezzola, also pleaded not guilty. Their next court date was scheduled for March 26. Pepe remains free with travel and firearm restrictions; Pezzola was ordered held without bond.

“If this was a conspiracy, Trump was the leader,” Pezzola’s lawyer, Jonathan Zucker, told The New York Times.

In another case, a federal prosecutor on Monday (Feb. 8) asked a judge to keep Jake Lang, a Newburgh man accused of taking part in the riot, incarcerated until trial. Lang was indicted on charges of assaulting officers, civil disorder and violent entry. 

According to the George Washington University Program on Extremism, which is tracking prosecutions related to the riot, as of Wednesday (Feb. 10), 201 people had been charged from 40 states and D.C.

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