A year after the attack on the Capitol to disrupt the vote count that certified Joe Biden as president, 707 people face charges that range from trespassing to violent attacks on police officers.
By one estimate, about 140 police officers were injured during the riot. One protester was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer and the assault is believed to have contributed to the deaths of at least three officers.
Five men from Putnam County, two from southern Dutchess and two with ties to Newburgh have been charged. Here is the status of their cases.
Robert Ballesteros, Mahopac
Arrested March 15, pleaded guilty Oct. 28
Ballesteros, 28, posted a video on Instagram of himself inside the Capitol wearing a black mask. When asked online by another Instagram user if he had been inside, Ballesteros said he had “made my stand” and that “some kid told me he tipped off the [FBI] hotline.” He pleaded guilty to “parading, demonstrating or picketing” inside the Capitol, a misdemeanor that has a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. He also agreed to pay $500 toward the damages to the building and is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 27.
Robert Chapman, Carmel
Arrested April 21, pleaded guilty Dec. 16
Chapman, 51, drew the FBI’s attention after a person with whom he interacted through an online dating service alerted agents to a remark and photo posted by someone with that name. In the message, “Robert” wrote that “I did storm the Capitol. I made it all the way into Statuary Hall.” His potential date replied: “We are not a match.” He conceded: “I suppose not.” Like Ballesteros, he pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing and will be sentenced on April 4.
Edward “Jake” Lang, Newburgh
Arrested Jan. 16, remains incarcerated
The FBI said Lang, 26, can be seen in the crowd wearing a green-and-black gas mask and striking officers’ shields with a bat. On Jan. 7, the day after the riot, Lang posted to Twitter, according to the charging documents: “I watched a woman die yesterday in front of my eyes. I saved two others from being trampled and suffocated by Capitol Police. They murdered her and tried to murder many, many more. This is an act of war by TYRANTS against the American people.” During a court appearance on Dec. 9, a prosecutor said Lang had turned down a plea deal with a sentence of up to about 6½ years. In a jailhouse interview with Newsmax last month, Lang was unrepentant, claiming “the police attacked us, and we had to defend each other and defend our country.” His next hearing is Jan. 27.
Roberto Minuta, Newburgh
Arrested March 8, released on personal recognizance
An FBI agent testified that Minuta, 37, was at the Capitol “equipped with military-style attire and gear,” including ballistic goggles, a radio earpiece and radio, hard-knuckle tactical gloves, bear spray and apparel emblazoned with a crest related to the Oath Keepers militia. He “aggressively berated and taunted” police officers before entering the building, the agent said. Minuta, who owns a tattoo parlor in Newburgh but lives in Texas, was indicted with 17 other alleged members of the Oath Keepers. He pleaded not guilty on Dec. 6 to three counts: conspiracy to stop the certification of the vote; obstruction of an official proceeding; and entering a restricted building.
Will Pepe, Beacon
Arrested Jan. 12, released on personal recognizance
Prosecutors allege Pepe, Dominic Pezzola of Rochester and Matthew Greene of Syracuse acted together as members of the far-right Proud Boys by coordinating travel and lodging, using earpieces and radios to communicate, dismantling barriers and breaking windows. All three pleaded not guilty; Pezzola and Greene remain incarcerated. A hearing for Pepe, 32, was held on Nov. 18 but a redacted transcript will not be released until next month. Following his arrest, Pepe was fired from his job at Metro-North in Brewster.
Gregory Purdy Jr., Kent
Arrested Nov. 10, released on personal recognizance
A 2016 Carmel High School graduate, the 24-year-old was one of six candidates in May 2020 for two seats on the Carmel school board (he finished fifth) and in 2016 managed a campaign by his father, Gregory Purdy-Schwartz, a Republican who hoped to unseat longtime state Assembly Member Sandy Galef, a Democrat whose district includes Philipstown and Kent. Purdy Jr. was arraigned on seven charges that included “assaulting, resisting or impeding” police officers and illegal entry. His next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 27. Purdy’s uncle, Robert Turner, 39, of Poughkeepsie, who traveled with him and faces the same charges, was arrested Nov. 22 and released; his next hearing is Feb. 10. [Update: On Jan. 14, Purdy and Turner were each indicted by a grand jury on nine counts.]
Matthew Purdy, Kent
Arrested Nov. 10, released on personal recognizance
Gregory Purdy’s younger brother, 22 and also a Carmel High School grad, was charged with four counts, including disorderly conduct and illegal entry. His next hearing is Jan. 27. [Update: On Jan. 14, Purdy was indicted by a grand jury on four counts.]
William Vogel, Pawling
Arrested Jan. 26, released on personal recognizance
The FBI says Vogel, 27, recorded himself inside the Capitol and posted the video to Snapchat. At least four people who saw the video reported it to the FBI and identified him, the agency said. He pleaded not guilty to unlawful entry, disorderly conduct and violent entry. The government has made a plea offer; his next hearing is March 4.
Anthony Vuksanaj, Mahopac
Arrested Sept. 30, released on personal recognizance
Vuksanaj, 52, pleaded not guilty to charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and parading, demonstrating or picketing. An FBI agent said that police had detained Vuksanaj on June 6, 2020, in connection to a robbery at knifepoint. He denied being involved but a search warrant revealed that his phone had been at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the FBI said, and the agency received video clips that appear to show him inside the building. [Update: On Jan. 20, Vuksanaj pleaded guilty to a single count (parading, demonstrating or picketing) as part of a plea agreement and is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces up to six months in prison.]
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