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Alleged US Capitol rioter from NM is charged

Shawn Witzemann of Farmington faces federal charges for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. Witzemann was captured on U.S. Capitol Police officer body cameras inside the Capitol building.(Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

A Farmington man has been arrested on federal charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that left five dead and dozens injured.

Shawn Witzemann, 38, turned himself in to federal authorities on Tuesday in Farmington, according to FBI spokesman Frank Fisher.

“My client has done nothing wrong,” Witzemann’s attorney, Todd Bullion, told the Associated Press. “He is looking forward to vindicating himself in front of a jury of his peers.”

The charges against Witzemann include knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, along with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to the criminal complaint.

The defendant was allegedly part of the group that forced entry into the U.S. Capitol while the U.S. Senate was in session, which prompted the evacuation of the chambers as some in the group broke windows and assaulted members of the U.S. Capitol Police, according to court documents.

A Facebook account in Witzemann’s name posted on Monday that he was going to be charged by the U.S. Department of Justice and that he planned to turn himself in on Tuesday. Witzemann wrote that he did not know how long he would be held in connection with the criminal charges he was accused of, but hoped he would be able to return to work as soon as possible.

Witzemann’s Facebook page listed him as a principal at Rocinante High School, but Farmington schools spokeswoman Renee Lucero said he was not the principal.

“Telling the truth isn’t an easy business to be in, but I suppose this is just another chapter in my life’s greatest passion,” Witzemann wrote on Facebook.

It was on Jan. 15 when the FBI received a tip, which contained a link to a video recorded inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

It was hosted on a Facebook page called “The Armenian Council for Truth in Journalism.”

The FBI learned the video was initially uploaded by an Instagram account tied to Witzemann.

On Jan. 15, Witzemann provided a video he recorded of himself to the FBI. He admitted in the video to being inside the Capitol building during the insurrection.

The defendant said in the video that he travels to demonstrations and protests, providing livestreaming video coverage.

He also admitted to participating in a podcast for “The Armenian Council for Truth in Journalism.”

Witzemann said he initially went to former President Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6, then marched on the U.S. Capitol.

He then said he went inside the building and entered the rotunda. The defendant says he left the Capitol building after being told by police to leave.

Witzemann also provided to federal authorities three videos he recorded inside the Capitol building.

U.S. Capitol Police body cameras captured Witzemann inside the Capitol building and screenshots of the video were included in the criminal complaint.