Pennsylvania man seen as Jan. 6 instigator convicted on multiple counts



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Ryan Samsel, one of the individuals who prosecutors accused of playing a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack at the U.S. Capitol, was convicted Friday on multiple felony counts, along with four co-defendants.

Samsel was one of the first people to confront the police on Jan. 6 outside the Capitol, with prosecutors saying he was part of a group that breached a restricted perimeter on the Capitol grounds and “paved the way” for other rioters to storm the area.

Prosecutors said Samsel and the four co-defendants “ignited a fire that burned for over four hours at the Capitol,” The New York Times reported.

Federal charges were filed against Samsel a month after the riot, with prosecutors alleging he attacked a Capitol Police Officer, Caroline Edwards, who suffered a concussion.

He was found guilty Friday of assaulting Edwards, and convicted on felony counts of civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Samsel, along with co-defendants James Tate Grant, Paul Russell Johnson, Stephen Chase Randolph and Jason Benjamin Blythe, were all found guilty of civil disorder, the DOJ said in a release.

The DOJ said Randolph, like Samsel, was found guilty of assaulting Edwards, while the three others convicted Friday were found guilty of assaulting another officer, among other charges.

The individuals were found not guilty on three misdemeanor charges and said they were not aware that former Vice President Mike Pence, who was protected by the Secret Service, was in the building, NBC News reported. However, they were found guilty of one misdemeanor charge for committing an act of physical violence on the Capitol grounds, the DOJ said.

Video circulated showing Samsel speaking with Proud Boy member Joe Biggs, who is sentenced to 17 years in prison, near the Capitol before Samsel began taking down bike racks used as a line of defense for police officers. Edwards then fell backwards, hitting her head.

Samsel is being held in custody and sentencing for him and the codefendants will be June 13.

The DOJ said nearly 900 people have been convicted of crimes stemming from the Jan. 6 riot, with 149 people convicted of assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers or employees.

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