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Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Law Enforcement Officers During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

            WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to two felony charges, including one for assaulting law enforcement officers, during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His and others’ actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to count and certify the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

            Charles Bradford Smith, 25, of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in the District of Columbia to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. According to court documents, Smith and a co-defendant, Marshall Neefe, communicated with each other and others on Facebook in the weeks preceding Jan. 6. For example, on Nov. 4, 2020, a day after Election Day, Neefe wrote to Smith, “Im getting ready to storm D.C.” The two subsequently shared their intentions and plans to travel to Washington on Jan. 6. In one message to Neefe, Smith wrote, “I can’t wait for DC!,” adding, “If it’s big enough we should all just storm the buildings … Seriously … I was talking to my Dad about how easy that would be with enough people.”

            Smith messaged others on social media to encourage them to come to Washington. He told a friend that he was buying axe handles and nailing American flags to them “so we can wave the flag but also have a giant beating stick just in case.” He also messaged another social media user that he had obtained a military-style knife that he planned to bring to Washington. On Jan. 6, both he and Neefe entered the Capitol grounds. They both participated in pushing a large metal sign frame – at least eight feet tall and 10 feet wide — into a defensive line of officers attempting to prevent the crowd from further advancing on the west front plaza of the Capitol. Smith also encouraged rioters to keep forcing a door to the Capitol closed to keep law enforcement officers inside the building so that they could not respond to the riot unfolding outside.  After he left Washington on Jan. 6, he messaged others on Facebook, “Well we literally chased them out into hiding.  No certification lol,” referring to the members of Congress who needed to vacate their chambers during the certification process due to the violent breach of the Capitol.

            Neefe, 25, of Newville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on May 3, 2022, to charges of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. He is to be sentenced on Aug. 17, 2022.

            Smith was arrested on Sept. 13, 2021. He is to be sentenced on Sept. 23, 2022. He faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and an additional eight years in prison on the assault charge. Both charges also carry potential financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

            The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

            The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office and its Capital Area Resident Agency. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department, and the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Police Department.

            In the 17 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 840 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

            Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

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