A Wayne County man faces federal charges in connection to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) was in Wayne County last week to take James Weeks, age 55, of Sodus, into custody. It is alleged that he was among the mob that criminally tried to disrupt the electoral count to install Joseph Biden as the legitimately-elected president.
Based upon review of public video, closed circuit television (“CCTV”) footage and police body-worn camera footage depicting the events at the U.S. Capitol building and grounds on January 6, 2021, law enforcement identified an individual who fought officers inside the Lower West Terrace “tunnel” and helped to shatter a window of the U.S. Capitol building. Law enforcement has identified that individual, as set out in detail below, as Weeks. Videos from the Capitol Building and police body-worn camera show Weeks committing his crimes, prosecutors reported in court papers.
Weeks is alleged to have struck/assaulting a Metropolitan Police Department Officer during the chaos, before being pepper-sprayed. He is accused of later inciting a group of rioters to break into the Capitol through a window. At one point, Weeks allegedly yells for more "volunteers to keep pushing."
In one video Weeks is seen reaching through a shattered window of one of the doors inside the tunnel in the building gesturing to police on the other side. A voice can be heard on the video while Weeks pointed and gestured yelling, “I’m gonna shove it up your ass! I’m gonna shove that up your ass, you fat f-ck! I’m gonna f-ck you up!” Based on the volume of the voice and its correspondence with the gestures made at approximately the same time by Weeks, law enforcement believes the voice may belong to him. At one point Weeks was sprayed with pepper spray by officers and another video showed him clenching his eyes as he left the tunnel.
After leaving the tunnel, another open-source video shows that Weeks made his way to the Senate Wing Door in the Northwest Courtyard of the U.S. Capitol building. A still image from Video showed Weeks, with the handkerchief around his face, holding a “STOP THE STEAL” sign on a pole outside the Senate Wing Door.
The official charges include Felony Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers, Civil Disorder and two counts of Destruction of Government Property and Aiding and Abetting and Impeding Passage Through the Capitol Grounds or Buildings, according to the DOJ (Department of Justice).
He was arrested more than three years after the riot, and appeared in federal court before being released on his own recognizance.
Weeks’ criminal case will be heard in federal court in the District of Columbia. His next court date there is February 13.
"In the 36 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,265 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 440 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony," according to the Justice Department.
The FBI’s investigation is continuing.
Background for the case:
The U.S. Capitol is secured 24 hours a day by U.S. Capitol Police. Restrictions around the
U.S. Capitol include permanent and temporary security barriers and posts manned by U.S. Capitol
Police. Only authorized people with appropriate identification were allowed access inside the U.S.
Capitol. On January 6, 2021, the exterior plaza of the U.S. Capitol was also closed to members of the public.
On January 6, 2021, a joint session of the United States Congress convened at the United States Capitol, which is located at First Street, SE, in Washington, D.C. During the joint session, elected members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate were meeting in separate chambers of the United States Capitol to certify the vote count of the Electoral College of the 2020 Presidential Election, which had taken place on November 3, 2020. The joint session began at approximately 1:00 p.m. Shortly thereafter, by approximately 1:30 p.m., the House and Senate adjourned to separate chambers to resolve a particular objection. Vice President
Mike Pence was present and presiding, first in the joint session, and then in the Senate chamber.
As the proceedings continued in both the House and the Senate, and with Vice President Mike Pence present and presiding over the Senate, a large crowd gathered outside the U.S. Capitol.
As noted temporary and permanent barricades were in place around the exterior of the U.S. Capitol building, and U.S. Capitol Police were present and attempting to keep the crowd away from the Capitol building and the proceedings underway inside.
At such time, the certification proceedings were still underway and the exterior doors and windows of the U.S. Capitol were locked or otherwise secured. Members of the U.S. Capitol Police attempted to maintain order and keep the crowd from entering the Capitol; however, around 2:00 p.m., individuals in the crowd forced entry into the U.S. Capitol, including by breaking windows and by assaulting members of the U.S. Capitol Police, as others in the crowd encouraged and assisted those acts.
Shortly thereafter, at approximately 2:20 p.m. members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, including the President of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, were instructed to—and did—evacuate the chambers. Accordingly, the joint session of the United States Congress was effectively suspended until shortly after 8:00 p.m. Vice President Pence remained in the United States Capitol from the time he was evacuated from the Senate Chamber until the sessions resumed.
During national news coverage of the events, video footage which appeared to be captured on mobile devices of persons present on the scene depicted evidence of violations of local and federal law, including scores of individuals inside the U.S. Capitol building without authority to be there.