Keene Jan. 6 suspect opts for plea agreement
The Keene man who posted selfies from the United States Capitol Building during the Jan. 6 riots is going to enter into a plea agreement, according to information filed in court.
Jason Riddle, 33, shared photos and videos to his social media accounts, and he shared them with traditional media outlets, showing himself inside the U.S. Capitol as rioters were breaking in and people in military garb were reportedly looking to kill members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence, according to court documents.
Riddle, who is seen in the photos and videos taking a bottle of wine, and who allegedly stole Senate Procedure manual and sold it on eBay for $40, is charged with the federal counts of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, theft of government property, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds.
He is currently barred from entering Washington D.C. as part of his conditions of release in the criminal case. The plea agreement hearing, set for Nov. 4, is scheduled as a video hearing, allowing Riddle to participate remotely.
Riddle, who has run unsuccessfully for county office in Keene as a Republican, gave an interview earlier this year in which he indicated plans to run against U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-Hopkinton. When asked about the criminal charges, he said his participation in the events will help his campaign.
“In the long run if you run-in for office any attention is good attention,” he told an NBC interviewer.
In the same interview, Riddle appeared unaware that Kuster is a United States representative. He indicated that he thought she was a state representative who worked at the State House in Concord.
Riddle is given to talking to television news reporters, and not always to his benefit, according to court records. FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson cites Riddle’s first interview with an NBC outlet in which Riddle admitted to going into the Capitol building along with the rioters.
“I just, I just had to see it,” Riddle said in the interview.
“When asked (by the NBC reporter) if Riddle regretted it, Riddle responded, ‘No,’” Helson writes in his affidavit.
Riddle is also quoted by NBC as saying he “poured a glass of wine and watched it all unfold,” while in the building and watching the violence.
“They were smashing computers, and printers, and breaking things, and throwing papers and lamps around,” Riddle said in the NBC interview, according to Helson’s affidavit.
Riddle supplied reporters with video and photos he took of the action inside the building, including numerous videos and photos of himself. Many of the photos of Riddle are included in Helson’s affidavit.
Helson writes that FBI agents interviewed Riddle in Keene on Jan. 22 when executing a search warrant to obtain digital photos and video. During that interview, Riddle allegedly admitted to going in as part of a “break in” led by a “big dude.” Riddle also admitted to taking the Senate book and drinking the wine, according to Helson.
“Riddle also admitted that he stole a small Fox News football from the same office, but tossed it aside as he exited the Capitol building,” Nelson wrote.
Riddle told the agents that before they arrived he had tried to delete photos from his phone.
“Riddle also admitted that at some point after the Capitol incident, he had deleted some messages, photos, and videos of his D.C. trip from his phone, during what he termed a ‘delete frenzy,’” Helson wrote.
Riddle is one of a handful of Granite Staters who were publicly identified as being at the Jan. 6 riots. In July, Thomas Gallagher, 62, of Bridgewater pleaded guilty to one count of illegal picketing, parading, or demonstrating inside a Capitol building, and had three other criminal charges dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
Gallagher remains free on release and he plans to return to Washington D.C. on Oct. 13 for his sentencing hearing.
Troy Police Chief David Ellis was quoted by a reporter at the scene of the Jan. 6 protest as members of the mob were taking the Capitol. Ellis was upset that the protestors were going after police officers, and there is no indication Ellis took part in the mob’s violent actions. Troy was forced to shut down its town hall for a week after violent threats against town officials were called and emailed in.