FBI Senate testimony that no Jan. 6 rioter carried a firearm inside U.S. Capitol restricted area is belied by a May 14 indictment accusing a Maryland man of “unlawful possession of a firearm on Capitol grounds.”
The federal indictment of Christopher M. Alberts also accuses him of carrying a pistol without a license and possessing a large capacity “ammunition-feeding device.”
The indictment, based on D.C. Metropolitan Police Department court affidavit dated Jan. 9, told of officers confronting Mr. Alberts on Capitol grounds as they tried to disperse the crowd of Trump supporters who had descended on the U.S. Capitol to prevent the formal ratification of Joseph R. Biden’s presidential-election victory.
A U.S. federal grand jury first indicted Mr. Alberts in January on counts which included carrying a firearm on Capitol “grounds or buildings.” The May 14 indictment superseded it and carried more charges.
At a joint hearing March 3 before two Senate committees, Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, asked Jill Sanborn, then the FBI’s counter-terrorism chief, “how many firearms were confiscated in the Capitol or on Capitol grounds during that day?”
Ms. Sanborn answered that “to my knowledge, we have not recovered any on that day from any other arrests at the scene at this point, but I don’t want to speak on behalf of Metro and Capitol Police. But, to my knowledge, none.”
“So nobody has been charged with an actual firearms weapon in the Capitol or on Capitol grounds?” Mr. Johnson asked.
“Correct,” Ms. Sanborn answered. “The closest we came was the vehicle that had the Molotov cocktails in it and when we did a search of that vehicle later on, there was a weapon.”
Mr. Trump’s supporters have promoted the Sanborn testimony as proof rioters were not carrying firearms. There is video showing those in the crowd using clubs, Mace-type sprays, flagpoles and stolen police shields as weapons.
The January D.C. police affidavit describes in detail how officers spotted a heavily armed Mr. Alberts and his weapon amid the crowd: “I was assisting escorting individuals past an MPD line when I noticed a man, later identified by his Maryland driver’s license as Christopher Alberts, to be slow in responding to orders to leave the premises. As I approached ALBERTS from his rear, I noticed a bulge on Alberts’ right hip.
“Based on my training and experience, I recognized the bulge was consistent with that of a handgun. While pushing Alberts towards the line, I tapped the bulge with my baton and felt a hard object that I immediately recognized to be a firearm. At the time, Alberts was also wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a backpack. At that point, I told two MPD officers next to him that Alberts had a firearm on his person. Alberts, apparently hearing that, immediately tried to flee, but I was able to detain him with the help of two other officers. A black Taurus G2C 9mm was recovered from [Albert’s] right hip.”
The affidavit continued, “Additionally, a separate magazine was located on [Albert’s] left hip. Both the gun and the spare magazine were in held in two separate holsters. The handgun had one round in the chamber with a twelve round capacity magazine filled with twelve rounds; the spare magazine also had a twelve round capacity and was filled with twelve rounds.”
Mr. Alberts was not charged with firing the Taurus semi-automatic. He told police he brought the gun to Washington for his personal protection. A judge magistrate released him from jail in January.
• Rowan Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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