Missouri man dressed as George Washington during Capitol riot
A Missouri locksmith who prosecutors say stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 dressed as George Washington is considering a plea deal with the government, his attorney told a federal judge on Thursday.
“We are at the plea bargain stage,” said John Machado, who represents Isaac Yoder, owner of Yoder Lock and Key in Nevada, Missouri. He added, however, “I don’t want to run the court as it will absolutely be a plea and we’re just trying to work things out.” I don’t know which direction we’re going to go, to be quite frank.
Yoder, who was arrested in Springfield on Aug. 4, appeared in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by videoconference on Thursday. He is accused of having knowingly entered or stayed in a building with restricted access; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; disorderly conduct in a capitol building; and marching, demonstrating, or picketing a Capitol building. All four counts are misdemeanors.
Assistant United States Attorney Mona Furst told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan that the government sent Machado a plea deal a few months ago.
“He indicated to me that he would discuss this with his client,” said Furst, who works at the US Attorney’s office in Wichita. “He is hopeful that after speaking with his client we may be able to resolve this issue without a trial.”
Sullivan has set Yoder’s next hearing for March 15.
Yoder is among 18 Missouri residents charged in the insurgency. Of these, one has been convicted and nine others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Authorities became aware of Yoder on February 26, 2021, when the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center received a tip online, according to the probable cause affidavit filed in his case. The tipster said a man named Yoder who worked at a locksmith company in Nevada stormed the Capitol in a George Washington suit.
The FBI checked the Yoder Lock and Key website and found a photo of a man in colonial attire identified as Isaac Yoder, the owner of the business. A comparison of this photo, Yoder’s driver’s license and an image of a man in colonial attire inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 indicated that they appeared to be the same person, according to the affidavit.
AT&T records obtained through a search warrant also showed that on the day of the riot, the cell phone associated with Yoder had used a cell site that provided service to the area that included the interior of the Capitol.
FBI agents interviewed Yoder on March 16 in Joplin. Yoder admitted he entered the Capitol on January 6, according to the affidavit, saying he saw barricades and broken windows before entering. He told officers he traveled to the Capitol after attending a pro-Trump rally with family members and later learned that “his brothers were exposed to tear gas, and one of them had been hit by rubber bullets”.
Yoder said once inside the building, he walked down a hallway to the Capitol rotunda and saw officers standing next to every statue in the area.
“He described the situation seemed somewhat under control with law enforcement and people standing around,” the affidavit reads. “People were using their phones and photographing everything. He was sure to have been captured in multiple images from photographs taken inside the Capitol.
Yoder brought his cell phone and the colonial outfit he wore on January 6 to the interview with FBI agents, according to the document. The clothes matched what he was wearing on the Capitol Police CCTV recordings of that day. A review of the tapes showed Yoder entered the Capitol at 3:14 p.m. and exited at 3:32 p.m., the document said.
“While he was inside the crypt, he was seen stopping so people could take pictures of him,” he said.
Three days after Yoder’s interview with the FBI, Newsweek published an article about him. In the article, Yoder said the crowd at the Capitol didn’t go there to cause trouble.
“Most of us are on the side of the aisle who are gun owners,” Yoder told Newsweek. “If we had gone there collectively to stir up trouble, there would have been piles of bodies. We could have leveled things up.
He said those who went to the Nation’s Capitol were there “to preserve our country.”
“It turned out to support our president,” he said, “but also to defend our country and that is much more important than Trump and the election.”
According to Newsweek’s story, Yoder didn’t seem worried about being arrested.
“It’s not about me,” Yoder said. “Anarchy in government is what worries me.”