Capitol rioter pleads guilty to assaulting police

Capitol rioter pleads guilty to assaulting police

WASHINGTON - A military veteran who re-enlisted in the U.S. Army after he stormed the Capitol on January 6 pleaded guilty to a federal charge on Friday, admitting he pepper sprayed police officers.

James Mault was photographed wearing a helmet with an iron workers union sticker, identified by local union officials, and subsequently lost his job, according to court documents.

He was interviewed by the FBI on January 18, 2021, according to court documents. Mault was allowed to reenlist in the U.S. Army months later, according to military records, even though his photo was featured on the FBI's Capitol Violence webpage.

Mault and his friend, Cody Mattice, pleaded guilty Friday to felony counts of assaulting, impeding, or resisting officers performing official duties. Mault and Mattice could be in federal prison for a maximum sentence of eight years for the felony charge.

Mault, wearing a orange prison jumpsuit and a black face mask, admitted to the judge that he advised Mattice to bring weapons to the Capital on January 6 and taunted police officers and encouraged them to join rioters.

Mault said he was part of a mob that forced officers to retreat and obtained a can of chemical spray that he used against officers in the tunnel.

In October after the FBI realized that Mault had been caught on tape assaulting officers, he and Mattice were charged. Mault was arrested at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he was working as an artillery cannon crew member.

Mault had previously enlisted in the military in 2013 and was an active-duty soldier until 2016 according to military records. He served in the Army Reserve between 2016 and 2020.

Mault entered a guilty plea on Friday afternoon in a federal courtroom in Washington, D.C. before Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. He and Mattice have been held on a pretrial charge.

Mault joins more than 250 Jan. 6 defendants who have pleaded guilty in the 15 months since the Capitol attack, when a mob tried to block former President Donald Trump's electoral defeat. Nearly 800 people have been charged with charges of unlawfully entering the Capitol or assaulting law enforcement. As reported by NBC News, hundreds of additional Capitol rioters have been identified by online sleuths but have not yet been arrested by the FBI.