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Florida leads nation in arrests related to Jan. 6 Capitol attack

At least 87 Floridians have been charged in connection to the deadly riot so far.

TAMPA, Fla. — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold their first public hearing Thursday night, where lawmakers say they will show previously unknown information and unseen video after a year of investigating the deadly riot.

One thing we already know is Florida’s unique connection to the attack.

The feds have charged more than 800 people since the riot — 87 of them are from Florida, more than any other state. Texas is second with 69, according to a study done by George Washington University. Ten cases are involving people from Pinellas County alone.

In Tampa Bay, at least 20 people were charged, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

More than a year since the attack, the federal criminal investigation is still ongoing. Just last week, two men from the Tampa Bay-area were charged for illegally entering the Capitol and had their first hearing today in court. 

The U.S. Department of Justice said 59-year-old Brian Boele, of Lakeland, and 48-year-old James Brett, of Clearwater, were indicted on felony charges of civil disorder and three related misdemeanor counts.

"Boele and Brett joined a group in illegally entering the Capitol grounds and making their way to the Lower West Terrace, where law enforcement officers were attempting to secure the building from a crowd of rioters," the DOJ wrote in a news release.

The two men were named in a superseding indictment that had previously charged three more Tampa Bay-area defendants. The DOJ said the three others charged were 28-year-old Alan Fischer III, of Tampa; 34-year-old Zachary Johnson, of St. Petersburg; and 61-year-old Dion Rajewski of Largo. Those three have pleaded not guilty.

In December, 54-year-old Robert Palmer of Largo was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in the riot. 

Prosecutors say Palmer repeatedly assaulted police attempting to defend the U.S. Capitol Building from a pro-Trump mob by throwing a wooden plank and a fire extinguisher at them. 

“Palmer then rooted around for additional materials with which to assault the police, including throwing the fire extinguisher a second time,” the Justice Department wrote in its memo.

Palmer didn’t stop there, they said. Afterward, he spoke to a reporter and admitted his goal was to “subvert a democratic election and that he hoped for military intervention to overturn the election.” He also posted statements on the Internet “falsely claiming that his actions on January 6 were purely defensive.”

Meanwhile, the FBI is still looking for Jonathan Daniel Pollock, a 23-year-old from Lakeland, who they say assaulted multiple police officers during the riot. They are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Forensics and law enforcement expert David Thomas of Florida Gulf Coast University said there's mounting evidence already. 

"Usually, the information comes from an informant, but now you have so much video evidence," Thomas said.

Thomas said it's possible more people could be indicted or more serious charges could come into play based on the unveiled information from the committee.

Thursday's hearing will go live at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday from a large House office building in the U.S. Capitol complex. You will be able to watch live on 10 Tampa Bay, our website and through our social media accounts.

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