WASHINGTON – A Michigan man was sentenced on a felony charge for his actions during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election.
Anthony Puma, 50, of Brownstown, Michigan was sentenced yesterday in the District of Columbia to nine months in prison for obstruction of an official proceeding. Puma pleaded guilty on August 30, 2022. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman sentenced Puma to two years of supervised release, a $500 fine, and restitution of $2,000.
According to court documents, on January 6, 2021, Puma strapped a Go-Pro camera to his head, activated the camera’s recording feature, and marched from his hotel near Freedom Plaza to the Capitol. After entering the Capitol’s restricted area, Puma approached a wall on the Capitol’s west side and urged other rioters in front of him to move forward and clear the way for others attempting to scale the wall. Puma then scaled a different wall on the north side of the Capitol and, from there, reached the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace. As Puma approached the Capitol’s West Front on the Senate side, he told other rioters in the mob that he was going to ignore the curfew, stating, “I just scaled that [expletive] wall.” He also said, “They probably evacuated everybody already here.”
Minutes later, Puma entered the Capitol building through a shattered window near the Senate Wing Door. Puma then marched through a corridor toward the Crypt of the Capitol. Along the way, Puma entered a Senator’s office, where other rioters were smoking marijuana. Puma asked if he could join them. Puma next took another detour, this time to enter another Congressional room where other rioters were congregating.
After exiting the Capitol building, Puma began livestreaming videos from his cell phone on social media. In one video, Puma boasted: “We got tear gassed. Now we just tried storming it again, and we got pepper sprayed.” Puma then remained on Capitol grounds even as officers kept pushing the rioters further and further back. On January 10, 2021, Puma issued an ominous warning to a friend on Facebook, “Watch what is to come in the next two weeks to month. It will shock the world.”
Puma was arrested on May 27, 2021.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Justice Department’s National Security Division prosecuted the case, with valuable assistance provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Detroit and Washington Field Offices. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department.
In the 26 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 999 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 320 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
originally published at HUMAN RIGHTS - USA DAILY NEWS 24