A US Capitol cop sympathetic to former President Donald Trump allegedly warned a Jan. 6 rioter to scrub his Facebook account before the FBI found evidence that the man had participated in the siege, court papers charge.
Officer Michael Angelo Riley reached out to the stranger on Jan. 7 through Facebook direct message after the man posted photos and videos allegedly admitting he was inside the US Capitol building during the breach, according to the indictment.
“Im [sic] a capitol police officer who agrees with your political stance,” Riley, a 25-year veteran of the department, allegedly told the man in the message. “Take down the part about being in the building they are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to charged. Just looking out!”
The two men were strangers, aside from both being avid fishermen and members of the same related Facebook groups.
The pair exchanged a dozen more messages over the next several weeks discussing the insurrection, court papers allege.
On Jan. 16, the rioter told Riley he had been charged for his conduct at the Capitol and linked to a news article about it, calling it “fake news.”
“They’re arresting dozens of people aday,” Riley wrote back. “Everyone that was in the building, engaged in violent acts, or destruction of property…and theyre all being charged federally with felonies.”
Riley then invited the man to stay with him next time he visited DC.
“If you want to see the Capitol building, lets do it legally next time,” he allegedly wrote.
After the man was arrested, Riley deleted all his communications with him, the indictment says.
Riley is charged with two counts of obstruction and is scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Washington, DC.