Newly unsealed court documents show Sandpoint man in Capitol during riot
SANDPOINT, Idaho — Newly unsealed court documents show a Sandpoint man was inside the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 riot.
Michael Pope was arrested earlier this month on charges connected to the attack.
Court documents show he went to Washington D.C. with his brother, William, who is also facing charges.
A few days after the attack, a witness told the FBI about a Facebook live video on William’s page that showed them at the Capitol on the day of the attack. In that video, William introduces Michael as his brother. A second tip then came in that showed a screen capture from an MSNBC broadcast that showed William in the Statuary Hall of the Capitol building.
Surveillance video obtained by the FBI shows the Pope brothers walking around the building throughout the day. In one video, Michael and William are both seen outside of the House Speaker’s offices. According to court documents, William appears to strike one of the office doors several times with the bottom of his flag pole and then attempts to force the door open by lunging into the door with his shoulder.
Another video appears to show Michael near the Senate Carriage Door, walking past a distracted Capitol Police officer. Court documents state he walked into an elevator and the officer later motioned him to get out, but he refused to comply. The video later shows two other officers joining the first to physically remove him.
In the days after the insurrection, as more videos and photos were released, William came forward to address his involvement. He told his local newspaper in Kansas he had reported himself to the FBI and that he remained “loyal to the United States of America.”
Around this time, the FBI received an internet tip from William that stated, “I would like to turn myself in. I was in the Capitol on January 6. I did not damage any property or engage in any violence. I am loyal to the United States and was only there to exercise my freedom of speech. I left the building voluntarily.”
William then did a voluntary, non-custodial interview in which he admitted to being in the Capitol with Michael during the riot. He said Michael lived in North Idaho and had flown out of Spokane.
When asked why they went inside the Capitol that day, William said their “purpose for entering the building was to express their concern about the direction of the nation.”
Following the interview, the FBI in Idaho got information about Michael’s home in Sandpoint, where they were able to contact him. He surrendered to the FBI and was taken into custody without incident.
Both of the Pope brothers face charges of obstructing or impeding any official proceeding; civil disorder; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; impeding passage through the capitol grounds or buildings; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a capitol building.
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