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Florida top state for people charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot, research center says

More than 800 people nationwide criminally charged in riot
Posted at 5:16 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:58:57-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's been more than 500 days since a violent and deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol disrupted a joint session of Congress trying to certify Joe Biden's presidential win.
Now, members of the House Committee investigating the insurrection will share their findings during a primetime hearing Thursday evening. The hearing is expected to include key testimony from witnesses and new video footage. 

Martin County resident Medora Reading told Contact 5 that she traveled to our nation's capitol Jan. 6 to attend a rally and request a state-by-state audit of the 2020 election.

"We just wanted to say, as Americans, we count, and speaking of counting, we need to do a recount," Reading said. "I could cry it was so beautiful, it was so magnificent."  

Martin County resident Medora Reading, attended Jan. 6 rally at Capitol
Martin County resident Medora Reading was among the Floridians who traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.

Reading said she left the rally and by the time she got back to her hotel room, rioters had attacked the Capitol and disrupted a joint session of Congress counting Electoral College votes.  

"If I had thought there was going to be that, I would not have gone at all," Reading said. "That was not what anybody had in mind, at all. That's not how you turn over an election. It's stupid."

To date, more than 800 people nationwide have been criminally charged for their alleged role in the riot, which caused $1.5 million worth of damage to the U.S. Capitol building. That includes 87 people from Florida, which tops the list of states according to the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

Key leadership of the extremist group the Proud Boys, who are facing seditious conspiracy charges, also call Florida home.  

Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump scale the west wall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.
FILE - Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump scale the west wall of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.

According to the Department of Justice, three people from Palm Beach County and one from St. Lucie County were charged. All of whom pleaded guilty and three have been sentenced to probation. 

Jason Dolan pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding and is awaiting sentencing. The government alleges the Wellington resident is connected to the anti-government group Oath Keepers and claims he unlawfully entered the Capitol.  

Former police officer Nicholes Lentz pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and was sentenced to probation. He told agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that "he had no intention of committing violence or destroying anything." A judge sentenced him to three years probation, 30 days of home detention, community service and restitution.  

Nicholes Lentz, Jody Tagaris, Tony Mariotto -- Florida resident charged in Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Nicholes Lentz, Jody Tagaris and Tony Mariotto (left to right) all pleaded guilty in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Former Palm Beach County Commission candidate, Jody Tagaris, pleaded guilty to entering and remaining in certain rooms of the Capitol building. Court documents allege she posted a photo of herself in the Capitol on Facebook. She received 24 months of probation, community service a fine and restitution.  

Tony Mariotto of Fort Pierce pleaded guilty to Parading, Demonstrating or Picketing on a Capitol building and was sentenced to probation, community service, a fine and restitution. Court documents allege he posted pictures of himself inside of the Capitol. He told WPTV shortly after his arrest that he thought he was doing something patriotic.  

Now, nearly a year and a half after rioters launched an assault on the Capitol, a House Select Committee made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, will share their findings during a hearing Thursday evening.  

Kevin Wagner, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University professor Kevin Wagner talks to Contact 5 reporter Michael Buczyner about why the Jan. 6 committee is holding the hearing in primetime.

Kevin Wagner, a professor of political science at Florida Atlantic University, said the committee is trying to give the American people an opportunity to tune in during primetime. 

"I don't recall the last time we've ever really had a primetime presentation of a committee hearing. It's relatively unusual," Wagner said. "The main purpose of a congressional committee is to investigate topics in which they're going to do legislation on. That’s certainly part of the purpose of this committee, but this committee also has another clear purpose too, which is to shed light, in other words, tell the American people about what happened, leading up to and including what happened on the day of Jan. 6."  

NBC News reports that the hearing is expected to focus on former President Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 violence.  

Trump's former Attorney General, William Barr, claims there was no evidence that the 2020 election was fraudulent.  

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