Colorado man indicted on charge of assaulting officer during Capitol riot

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DENVER, Colo. — A Woodland Park man was indicted Wednesday on federal charges for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Robert Gieswein, 24, faces charges assaulting an officer, obstruction, destruction of government property and entering a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon, according to a federal indictment returned by a Washington, D.C., grand jury.

Gieswein remains in custody in Denver after a federal magistrate judge last week denied him bond, disputing Gieswein’s attorney’s argument that the Jan. 6 riot was merely a “unique moment in time” and saying that Gieswein actions were a “fundamental attack on our democracy.”

Prosecutors said Gieswein showed up to the Capitol dressed in paramilitary gear and was brandishing a baseball bat and aerosol spray.

When an officer tried to take Gieswein into custody, the Coloradan — who prosecutors said had once wanted to be a police officer — resisted arrest and shoved the officer to the ground, according to evidence presented in court.

Judge Scott T. Varholak also questioned Gieswein’s alleged involvement with the radical militia group known as the Three Percenters. In several photos on his Facebook profile, Gieswein flashed hand signals commonly used by the group, but Gieswein’s attorney said the photos are not sufficient evidence to prove Gieswein is actively involved with the group.

Varholak acknowledged that many of the rioters on Jan. 6 were possibly wrapped up by “mob mentality.”

“In addition, the president at the time was telling supporters that the election was stolen,” Varholak said. “Supported by members of congress. Not just listening to some fringe group on the internet — they’re being told this by leaders of the country.”

Still, Gieswein’s alleged actions were “different,” Varholak said, saying Gieswein was dressed in military gear and carried a baseball bat and aerosol spray.

“That is not somebody going to D.C. to lawfully protest,” Varholak said. “That is somebody who is going for battle.”

Gieswein is due in court Friday for a preliminary hearing in his case.