Mother & Son Jan 6 Duo Busted By Feds For Fighting DC Officers

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Deborah Sandoval and Salvador Sandoval Jr. — a mother and son from Iowa — are facing an array of federal criminal charges for participating in last year’s Trump-incited mob attack on the Capitol.

The younger Sandoval is facing more serious charges in connection to getting into physical altercations with law enforcement. Salvador physically confronted at least four officers: he took one cop’s riot shield and then pushed two D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers elsewhere in the Capitol, besides evidently attempting to take another police officer’s shield. One of Salvador’s defenses is that he was acting in self-defense, a notion that federal prosecutors shredded in arguments filed in court.

“Within approximately one minute of breaching the east side doors of the Capitol, Salvador  proceeded into the rotunda and assaulted a law enforcement officer by stealing his shield,” federal prosecutors said. “Salvador then retreated into the entryway of the east-door area and assaulted three additional officers. There is simply no basis for Salvador to claim self-defense when he had illegally entered a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol. The videos further show that no officer used excessive force against Salvador at any time.” Troublingly, Salvador — apparently aware of the criminal exposure he was facing in connection to his actions at the Capitol — purchased an assault rifle less than a week after the riot, and when federal agents showed up with a search warrant at his residence, they also discovered “two backpacks already stocked with ready-to-eat meals, clothing, and a burner phone that was purchased a few days after the riot,” an Iowa outlet summarizes.

The supplies obviously suggest Salvador was potentially preparing to try making some kind of escape. His mother also obtained a burner phone; it’s not immediately clear if that was the same device. Ultimately, the rifle and supplies discovered at Salvador’s residence were seized by federal law enforcement. Deborah Sandoval also took actions meant to obscure her role in what happened at the Capitol. Among other examples, she deleted items from her phone and got her so-called burner phone, which she told an acquaintance via Facebook “can’t be tracked.” It’s noteworthy she went through that trouble and then made a specific record — in the form of that message — of what she’d done. Whoops.

Besides the self-defense claims for Salvador (claims of a sort a jury already rejected in another case tied to the riot), the mother and son are also leaning on the allegation they’re facing politically motivated prosecutions. In connection with that attempted defense, they’re using the baseless, debunked argument federal agents instigated what happened.

The Sandovals are scheduled to stand trial in December. So far, every single jury trial for a Capitol rioter ended with convictions on all counts. (That’s not the case with bench trials, meaning trials in which the question of a defendant’s guilt was handled by a judge.) The Sandovals are pushing for the exclusion at trial of video footage from the day of the riot where they’re not personally seen, although as prosecutors laid it out such footage could help with establishing what was going on — and how it’s not as though someone could’ve reasonably missed that the people there weren’t supposed to be in the building. Deborah went into an office in the Capitol building for Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), making it particularly difficult to imagine she accidentally stumbled into things. She stuck around.

Image: Blink o’fanaye, available under Creative Commons licensing