Unfortunately, a number of New Yorkers took part in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021 and were among the 725 people nationwide who’ve been charged, to date, in connection with the first such assault on the heart of American democracy since the War of 1812.
Since last year’s day of infamy, the Justice Department reported they’ve arrested individuals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who allegedly vandalized, violated and laid siege to the Capitol as part of a witches’ brew of unhinged then-President Trump supporters, white supremacists, militia members, conspiracy theorists and others who sought to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.
The act marked the first time in generations that the peaceful transfer of power from one American president to another had been undermined with violence. The insurrection led to more than $1.5 million in physical damage to the U.S. Capitol, but the psychological damage incurred upon a nation that witnessed it continues — along with the ever-present fear that another attempted coup may happen someday if those responsible for inciting it, and those who carried it out, aren’t held accountable for their actions.
Less than a week after the siege, a Brooklyn man was arrested by federal agents for participating in the insurrection.
Aaron Mostofsky, 34, was cuffed on Jan. 12 after he was caught on camera inside the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 attack, wearing a fur costume and holding a riot shield apparently wrested away from a Capitol Police officer.
Mostofsky, the son of Brooklyn Judge Shlomo Mostofsky, was also seen wearing a bulletproof vest during the incident, apparently also taken from a Capitol cop.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, which is prosecuting the case, Mostofsky pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, and is currently free without bail pending the start of his trial, on Jan. 22.
On Feb. 18, federal agents then picked up Nicolas Moncada, 20, of Staten Island, who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, as shown on video posted to Instagram and Twitter. His image, taken from inside the Rotunda, was recognized two days after the attack by members of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s campus security unit, where Moncada is a student.
Moncada was released without bail, and is currently awaiting prosecution, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Another Brooklynite, Dominick Madden, 43, was picked up by the FBI at his Sheepshead Bay home on Jan. 21. Madden, who had been a New York City Sanitation worker and QAnon sympathizer, was caught on camera in front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 waving a Trump flag and shouting the QAnon slogan, while wearing a QAnon sweater.
Madden was later caught on camera that same afternoon inside the Capitol entering the building along with thousands of other invaders and walking through the Rotunda and Senate wing.
Federal prosecutors said that Madden pleaded guilty back on Oct. 5, 2021 to the charge of Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 9 of this year.
One of the more egregious Capitol attackers from New York was picked up on Jan. 20, 2021 — coinciding with President Biden’s inauguration.
Samuel Fisher of the Upper East Side, who also goes by the name Brad Holiday, brought “multiple firearms and a bulletproof vest” with him to the Capitol coup attempt on Jan. 6.
In the days leading up to the attack, according to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Fisher made a number of statements on Facebook indicating that he would be there along with “a million” so-called “patriots,” and armed for a standoff.
Before the Jan. 6 assault, Fisher posted a photo of an assault rifle and a handgun that he allegedly brought with him, then wrote, “I’m going to the parking garage super early… leaving s**t in there maybe except pistol… “and if it kicks off I got a vest and my rifle.”
The day after the attack, Jan. 7, Fisher allegedly wrote on Facebook that he was there, “it was awesome…” and that “people died… but if was f***ing great if you ask me… i got tear gassed and pepper sprayed (sic)… seeing cops literally run … was the coolest thing ive ever seen in my life.”
Fisher pleaded not guilty to the charges in April; his prosecution is still pending, according to court records.
Philip Grillo, 46, was picked up at his girlfriend’s home in Glen Oaks, Queens on Feb. 23. At the time, he had been a Republican district leader who made a failed attempted at running in a 2021 special election for the vacant 24th City Council District seat, according to the Queens Daily Eagle.
A source with the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York said that Grillo was identified through his Knights of Columbus jacket, which he apparently wore while allegedly participating in the violent Capitol attack that left five people, including a Capitol police officer, dead.
Grillo was released without bail following his appearance in federal court on March 12. His prosecution is pending.
The list of New Yorkers arrested for taking part in the failed coup attempt included a former member of New York’s Finest.
Richmond Hill’s Sara Carpenter, 51, retired from the NYPD in 2004, but wound up in federal handcuffs in March. That fateful January day last year, she allegedly decided to help storm the Capitol along with rest of the mob — which assaulted scores of Capitol police officers attempting to protect the lawmakers and staffers inside.
One Capitol Police Officer, Brian Sicknick, died after being fatally beaten by the insurrectionists on the Capitol steps.
Carpenter allegedly told a relative that she had gone to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to protest the election results, but decided to leave after being exposed to tear gas. She later provided video of her from inside the Capitol during the insurrection.
A federal grand jury later indicted Carpenter on counts of trespassing, disorderly conduct and violent entry of the Capitol. She pleaded not guilty to the charges at her July arraignment, and was released without bail. Her prosecution is pending.
In April, federal agents picked up yet another Brooklyn member of the Jan. 6 Trump mob for his role in the Capitol assault.
Dovid Schwartzberg, 19, confessed to breaking into the historic building because, as he told police, he had wanted to “be where the action was.” He entered the Capitol through a broken window after attending Trump’s rally outside the facility, before recording several videos, which he posted to the social media platform TikTok under his handle @dovidsberg26.
Nonetheless, Schwartzberg pleaded not guilty to the four federal charges against him at his June 3 arraignment. He was released without bail, with prosecution still pending.
Another Queens resident, Little Neck resident Jia Liu, 26, was charged on Oct. 29 with four misdemeanors in connection to the Capitol attack.
According to court documents, Liu was allegedly spotted on two separate occasions entering the Capitol building at 3:24 p.m. and exiting at 3:31 p.m. by climbing through an open window. His prosecution is pending.
Additional New Yorkers arrested in Capitol attack
- Patricia Todisco, of Staten Island, was picked up in New Jersey on Jan. 22 after being caught on camera filming the insurrection inside the Capitol as part of the mob. She was also seen trespassing in the office of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. Todisco pleaded not guilty to the charges against her in March and is awaiting further prosecution.
- Anton Lunyk, 26, of Brooklyn was picked up on May 20 after being caught on camera numerous times at the Capitol, including within a Senator’s working space. He remains out on his own recognizance while awaiting further prosecution.
- Daniel Christmann of Brooklyn trespassed inside an interior room within the Capitol during the insurrection and posted a photo of the act on his Instagram account. He was arrested on July 28 on four federal charges, including disorderly conduct, and is now awaiting prosecution.
- Antonio Ferrigno, 26, and Francis Connor, 23, both of Brooklyn, were arrested on Aug. 31 after being caught on camera inside the Capitol during the insurrection. Ferrigno was picked up in Brooklyn, while Connor was apprehended in Tennessee. Both are awaiting prosecution.
With reporting by Emily Davenport and Aidan Graham