An Alabama Trump rioter who owns a body shop and — like other Capitol violence participants — captured personal cellphone footage of the riot was found guilty this week by a D.C. jury of four federal criminal charges.
Russell Dean Alford, who is in his 60s, was found guilty of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, which were evidently all of the charges he originally faced, per earlier filings. His sentencing is scheduled for late January of next year, and he is facing a combined total of up to three years in prison from the series of charges, although his sentence could eventually prove significantly less than that amount. Alford was among the rioters who went inside the Capitol building during the chaos, entering through a door that was already broken open. He told the FBI in an interview within a month of the riot — conducted after acknowledging he knew the criminal penalties for lying — that he didn’t see who broke the door open.
Alford posted footage he took inside the Capitol to a personal YouTube account that, at least at the time, used his actual name as the channel identifier, which presumably helped further the process of identifying him. One of his videos went up under the title “January 6, 2021,” while he titled a subsequently posted clip “stuff,” as though suddenly conscious of the potential for someone to find it and trying to avert that possibility through imprecise naming. In the first video, he even showed his face while filming inside of the Capitol, tying his appearance to his name and participation in the riot — and helping lead investigators right to his Alabama business. Alford apparently expected the FBI to find him and potentially expected to get taken to jail the first time agents showed up. “I wondered when y’all were going to show up. Guess you’ve seen the videos on my Facebook page,” he said after agents identified themselves for a January 2021 interview. He also asked if he would be taken to jail that day. He was ultimately arrested in Alabama last March.
Image: Tyler Merbler/ Creative Commons