New York man James Phillip Mault — who joined the Army in the time since the Capitol violence — was arrested recently over his participation in the January riot at the Capitol, where he was among those assaulting law enforcement personnel who were attempting to protect those on and around the premises from the rampaging mob. As summarized by The Fayetteville Observer, Mault “is accused of spraying a chemical agent at a crush of law enforcement officers,” with the criminal complaint against him noting how a “review of a body worn camera from a Metropolitan Police Officer showed… Mault spraying a chemical agent at law-enforcement officers with his left hand.”
Mault was also one of those to remove a barricade, and targeting the barricades specifically helped, of course, with accessing of the Capitol grounds by other members of the mob. Notably, Mault was initially questioned by federal personnel back in January, at which point he denied that he assaulted anyone or damaged any property while he was at the Capitol. The criminal complaint against him lays out how Mault “described being caught up in the crowd and the mass of people pushed him closer and closer to the Capitol Building,” adding that Mault “claimed to have no choice but to move forward because of the press of people behind him.” Trying to evade responsibility for their own actions has been a recurring theme among Capitol rioters.
Ultimately, Mault’s identity was confirmed in part because of a hard hat that he wore with distinct stickers. Agents eventually showed Mault’s mother photos of what was suspected to be her son’s involvement in the riot, and she confirmed that it was him. Mault is now one of well over 600 Trump supporters who have been caught and criminally charged for their parts in the Capitol riot. Although significant numbers of Capitol riot defendants have entered plea deals, most have not, meaning that trials remain on the horizon. The first actual trial in a Capitol riot case is set for next month and involves Guy Reffitt, whose charges include obstruction of an official proceeding and obstruction of justice, the latter of which is connected to threats of violence he made against members of his family in hopes of pressuring them into helping keep his riot involvement quiet.