A New York man running as a Republican candidate to represent the Congressional district where George Santos was recently pushed out has been convicted by a jury on a series of criminal charges related to actions at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The defendant, Philip Sean Grillo, was convicted of charges as steep as obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony. Authorities say that he was among the rioters to enter the Capitol on the day of the assault, helping with the opening of a key set of exterior doors that assisted others with also accessing the inside of the building. “Grillo and the mob eventually pushed past the officers and opened the exterior doors, allowing numerous additional rioters inside the building,” the Justice Department says of a key moment.
Cellphone footage that he himself evidently recorded also shows Grillo smoking marijuana inside the Capitol building. He entered the building through a broken window carrying a megaphone, also according to authorities. Notably, Grillo claimed at trial that he didn’t know Congress met in the Capitol building, an argument that if accepted could potentially have undercut the obstruction case against him, since the official proceeding he was assumed to be targeting were Congressional proceedings certifying the 2020 election outcome, meaning Joe Biden’s victory. Clearly, that argument didn’t prevail.
Besides the obstruction offense, he was also convicted of misdemeanors including disorderly conduct. Documentation from the day shows Grillo evidently exuberant about what was transpiring. “We stormed the Capitol. We shut it down! We did it!” he said on video. Precedent suggests Grillo could face a sentence of several years. In all of these cases, Donald Trump’s stated interest in issuing pardons for January 6 participants if he regains the White House looms. Though Grillo himself didn’t seem to be accused of physical violence, many January 6 participants were so accused — but Trump’s support has nonetheless continued, often without caveats excluding those accused of even the most gravely serious acts that day.