One Of The First Rioters In Capitol Tunnel Pleads Guilty, Faces Possibly Years Of Jail

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On Monday, Tallahassee, Florida’s Raymund Joseph Cholod pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington, D.C., to a federal felony charge of assaulting police that stemmed from involvement in the Capitol violence of early 2021, which was spurred by lies tracing to Donald Trump of a stolen presidential election.

A large share of the individuals charged over the Capitol attack hailed from Florida. Like other prominent and serious cases, Cholod joined violence against police perpetrated in and around the Lower West Terrace Tunnel at the Capitol, which authorities have explained was the result of construction at the complex for the then-upcoming presidential inauguration that formally put Joe Biden in office as president. About 30 minutes after the Capitol building was first breached elsewhere, Cholod was among the first participants in the violence inside the tunnel.

Later, he hurled what authorities identified as “a long black solid stick” into the highly contested space. Cholod “knew that police officers were standing by and attempting to keep rioters out of the Capitol building,” a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in the nation’s capital said of the defendant. Precedent suggests that Cholod’s plea could land him with multiple years in prison, and his sentencing is currently scheduled for July. The account of his case provided in that federal release didn’t tie him to extremist groups or similar, more organized pushes.

Trump, meanwhile, is continuing his campaign of essentially stumping for the Capitol rioters. At a recent campaign rally in South Carolina where he also threatened the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Trump again referred to detainees with criminal allegations originating in the riot as “hostages,” characterizing the criminal proceedings implicating these individuals — many of whom have, like Cholod, pleaded guilty — as fundamentally political in nature. And he’s repeatedly suggested presidential pardons in the event he actually regains the White House.