Joining scores of other members of the U.S. armed services charged in the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, a Marine Corp Reserves corporal currently serving as a cyber network operator faces four misdemeanors for his alleged role in the siege.
The FBI arrested Jia Liu, a 26-year-old from Queens, N.Y., on Friday morning, authorities say.
His attorney Benjamin Yaster of Brooklyn Federal Defenders did not immediately respond to a voicemail requesting comment.
The affidavit supporting his charges does not allege any violence or vandalism on his part. Prosecutors charged him with 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.
Authorities have leaned on those statutes to charge the lower-level offenders among the more than 600 people prosecuted with breaching the U.S. Capitol.
In its affidavit, the FBI says that it looked into Liu’s Department of Defense records—among others—in investigating the suspect. Authorities found Liu had been assigned to Direct Support Company, 6th Communication Battalion, Marine Forces Reserve.
“Based on Liu’s passport, driver’s license, and Department of Defense photographs, your affiant located Liu on law enforcement body camera footage outside the U.S. Capitol building, as well as on U.S. Capitol building security camera footage entering the U.S. Capitol,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. “Liu appears in the stills below dressed in a black jacket with a red, white and blue American flag hood donned over his head.”
Authorities say they observed Liu entering the building twice: at 3:24 p.m. and 3:31 p.m. by “climbing through a broken window.”
Court papers show several screenshots from surveillance footage of Liu allegedly entering the building the first time. Police body camera footage allegedly captures the second entrance.
The FBI says that the New Yorker was also foiled by license plate readers capturing his bridge and tunnel entrances and exits.
“According to New York City Police Department […] license plate reader information, on January 6, 2021, at approximately 5:32 a.m., a 2004 Jeep Wrangler (registered to Liu’s stepfather) hit traveling in the Lincoln Tunnel Outbound West Tube, leaving New York City,” the complaint states. “Additionally, later on January 6, 2021, at approximately 11:55 p.m., the same vehicle hit traveling northbound on the George Washington Bridge, Lowel Level into New York City, and again at approximately 12:04 a.m. (on January 7, 2021) traveling Queens-bound on the Throgs Neck Bridge.”
The U.S. Marine Corps did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s press inquiry.
Liu is not the only Marine Corps member charged in connection with the events of Jan. 6.
In May, prosecutors charged Major Christopher Warnagiris with “violently” entering the Capitol Building through the East Rotunda doors by pushing through a line of Capitol Police officers.
“[Warnagiris] positioned himself in the corner of the doorway and seemed to use his body to help keep the door partially opened and reached for individuals pushing their way through to help pull them inside,” an unidentified FBI agent wrote in an affidavit supporting his criminal complaint.
Marine Corps spokesman Maj. J. A. Hernandez confirmed at the time that Warnagiris was an active-duty Marine.
“The Marine Corps is clear on this: There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps,” Hernandez told Law&Crime in May.
Read the FBI’s affidavit, below:
(Photos via DOJ)
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