FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce man accused of being a member of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington earlier this month is facing federal charges.
Anthony "Tony" Mariotto, 52, is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to a criminal complaint, a concerned citizen submitted an online tip to the FBI National Threat Operations Center alleging that Mariotto was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and was part of the crowd that illegally entered the building.
The citizen was interviewed by an FBI Special Agent over the phone and claimed he or she knew Mariotto for more than a year and that they were friends with or followed him on social media, specifically Facebook.
The citizen reported seeing photographs of Mariotto in the Capitol during the attack on the building and that these photographs were posted to Mariotto's Facebook account.
The citizen also stated that Mariotto recently deleted his Facebook account, but that the citizen had taken screen shots of the photographs and saved them before the account was deleted.
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The photo provided to the FBI by the citizen appears to show Mariotto in the Senate chamber with the following caption: "I'm in [sic] And there are just a few [sic] This is our house."
Law enforcement positively identified Mariotto in the screen shot with an address in Fort Pierce, based on his Florida driver's license photograph.
The citizen also told the FBI special agent he or she observed at least four videos of Mariotto inside the Capitol that were posted to Mariotto's Facebook account before it was deleted.
According to the citizen, the videos were taken during the Jan. 6 riot.
The citizen also claimed to have viewed a video of Mariotto's wife in Washington that day that was posted to Mariotto's Facebook account before it was deleted.
An FBI special agent located Mariotto in Epworth, Georgia, on Jan. 16 and interviewed him over the phone.
According to the criminal complaint, Mariotto admitted that he was present inside the Capitol during the riot.
He stated he was in Washington with his wife and listened to President Donald Trump's speech, and then gathered with the crowd outside the Capitol.
Mariotto claimed he thought he "was being part of history." He conceded he knew he was not allowed to be in the Capitol, and stated he would accept full responsibility for his actions.
Mariotto voluntarily met with a special agent Jan. 19 and provided the agent with his phone.
A search warrant was issued and the FBI processed his phone.
Present on the phone was the "selfie" photograph the citizen observed on Facebook, as well as other videos that were recorded inside the Capitol building during the riot. After processing, the phone was returned to Mariotto.
If convicted on both counts, Mariotto could spend more than one year in federal prison.