Nearly three years after the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to disrupt the vote count that certified Joe Biden as president, 1,171 people have been arrested and accused of charges that range from trespassing to attacks on police officers. About 700 of those defendants have been sentenced and 64 have received prison time. Two people have been acquitted and eight cases were dismissed.
Nine local men — five from Putnam County, two from southern Dutchess and two with ties to Newburgh — were among those arrested. Three of the Putnam residents have pleaded guilty to entering the Capitol. Here is the status of the other prosecutions since our last update in January.
William Pepe, Beacon
Prosecutors allege Pepe, who was arrested six days after the riot, was among the members of the far-right Proud Boys who coordinated travel and lodging, using earpieces and radios to communicate, dismantling barriers and breaking windows. Following his arrest, Pepe was fired from his job at Metro-North in Brewster. He was indicted on four counts, including conspiracy; assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; and aiding and abetting.
Pepe is represented by John Pierce, a California lawyer who in 2021 founded the National Constitutional Law Union, which he describes as “the answer to the useless and radically leftist American Civil Liberties Union.”
In May, Pierce responded to an amended criminal complaint against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers that named Pepe and 36 other defendants. He dismissed the accusations against his client as a “giant conspiracy theory”; accused prosecutors of “campaigning for the Democrat Party”; and alleged that the rioters on Jan. 6 included federal agents.
Pierce told the court that, according to his client, most Proud Boys “just want to hang out, watch sports and drink adult beverages.” Pierce argued that the rioters could not have obstructed any proceedings on Jan. 6, because the transfer of power happens on Jan. 20. He stated, on behalf of his client, that Trump won the election in 2020 because “rules were changed” that violated the Constitution. “Mountains of evidence was presented to courts — but ignored,” Pierce asserted.
In the document, Pepe said he joined the Proud Boys on Dec. 12, 2020. At about 10 a.m. on Jan. 6, 100 Proud Boys — who had been told not to wear black and yellow, the traditional group colors — gathered at the Washington Monument and marched to the Capitol.
Pepe denied being among those who “overwhelmed the police and breached the outermost barricade.” Pierce argued the charges against his client should be dismissed because Washington, D.C.’s mayor had allowed Antifa, “so-called (misnamed) Black Lives Matter, anarchist and other Leftist protestors to run amok from 2017 to 2020.”
Pepe denied committing violence or property damage and blamed police officers for not following their training. A status conference was scheduled for Dec. 15.
Gregory Purdy Jr., Kent
A 2016 Carmel High School graduate, Purdy was arrested in November 2021 after being indicted on nine charges that include assaulting, resisting or impeding police officers and illegal entry. Purdy’s uncle, Robert Turner, 39, of Poughkeepsie, who traveled with him, faces the same charges. His younger brother, Matthew Purdy, also a Carmel High grad, was indicted on four counts, including disorderly conduct and illegal entry. All three men pleaded not guilty.
In February, the government sought an order to prevent Gregory Purdy from having any contact with elected officials after he allegedly had a conversation with the mayor of Syracuse.
In August, Purdy and his brother and uncle hired Melissa Isaak, an Alabama attorney who specializes in representing men in divorces, and dropped their separate, court-appointed counsel. Prosecutors on Oct. 20 opposed allowing Isaak to represent all three defendants, saying they may be asked to testify against each other as part of any plea agreements, which would create a conflict of interest.
Isaak did not respond to an email or phone message seeking comment. A status conference has been scheduled for Dec. 12.
Edward “Jake” Lang, Newburgh
Lang, then 26, was arrested 10 days after the riot. According to the FBI, he can be seen in the crowd wearing a green-and-black gas mask and striking officers’ shields with a bat. At a hearing in 2021, a prosecutor said Lang had turned down a plea deal with a sentence of up to about 6½ years.
In July, Lang petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging the charge of “obstructing, influencing or impeding an official proceeding,” which carries a sentence of up to 20 years. He argued that the law only applies to the destruction of documents or other evidence. On Oct. 30, the Department of Justice filed a brief urging the Supreme Court not to take up a petition, saying it would be premature to rule before Lang has been tried.
The case has been postponed while the court awaits the Supreme Court’s decision. Lang remains incarcerated. On Nov. 8, he dismissed one of his lawyers, Norman Pattis.
Roberto Minuta, Newburgh
Minuta, the former owner of a Newburgh tattoo parlor, was among four members of the Oath Keepers convicted on Jan. 23 of seditious conspiracy.
Minuta, who lives in Texas, formerly owned the Casa Di Dolore on Broadway in Newburgh. He was arrested in Newburgh on March 8, 2021. An FBI agent testified that Minuta, then 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. He “aggressively berated and taunted” police officers before entering the building, the agent said. On June 1, Minuta was sentenced to 4½ years in prison.
William Vogel, Pawling
The FBI said that Vogel, then 27, recorded himself inside the Capitol and posted the video to Snapchat. He pleaded not guilty to three charges: unlawful entry, disorderly conduct and violent entry. On Jan. 16, his public defender informed a judge that his client planned to mount a “public authority” defense (i.e., Trump gave the orders). On Feb. 2, in a plea agreement, Vogel pleaded guilty to a single charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. On June 16, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation.