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Photo in New York Times Magazine Leads FBI to Man in Helmet Who Climbed on Monument to ‘Accurately Document’ U.S. Capitol Breach


A North Carolina man faces four federal charges after two people who knew him spotted his image in a New York Times Magazine social media post and notified the FBI.  According to a statement of facts attached to a federal criminal complaint filed Friday, one of the tipsters believed Stephen Ethan Horn, of Wake Forest, “was inside the U.S. Capitol as a journalist, but was not aware of HORN having any media credentials.”

The New York Times Magazine post is still online, though viewers have to flip through the several images to find the one which prosecutors say shows Horn:


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A post shared by The New York Times Magazine (@nytmag)

Later, the FBI downloaded a two-hour-long video from Horn’s Facebook page which Horn allegedly recorded while walking through the besieged building.

“I was in DC today when the capitol was stormed,” said a post attached to the video.

The URL for Horn’s page, which is listed in federal court papers, was viewed Saturday by Law&Crime. The video referenced by federal prosecutors is still live on the page. Horn’s profile photo shows a man wearing a tricorne hat in the style of those worn during the American Revolution. Horn’s page is “following” pro-police and anti-Joe Biden pages.

That post continues (in part) as follows:

A few notes about what I witnessed:

The people inside the capitol were not, by and large, antifa. If there were antifa involved in the criminality that occurred, they only formed a small percentage.

This was not a peaceful protest. I saw many instances of pushing against police officers, as well as a at least one instance where a barrage of projectiles was thrown. Once we were inside, it seemed there were at least as many in the crowd trying to actively prevent harm to police officers as there were who were trying to attack them or push them back.

I was a little surprised at the lack of property destruction I witnessed, compared to some of the left wing riots in Raleigh that happened this year. While I did see a broken mirror and other destruction in Rep. Pelosi’s office, I did not see much destruction for destruction’s sake.

I did not see the incident in which a woman was shot by capitol (now ID’d as Ashli Babbitt), I did see a man who appeared to have fallen from some height and was laying on an improvised stretcher. Someone who appeared to be examining him said he had broken both his legs. I don’t know if this was accurate, or if he ended up being one of the three others confirmed to have died in “medical emergencies” at the scene.

I did not enter the capitol building as part of the protest, or for cheap thrills, but to accurately document and record a significant event which was taking place. Feel free to share, download, repost this video or any clip from it.

The video shows scenes from around the Capitol on Jan. 6.  The person holding the camera — alleged by prosecutors to be Horn — enters the capitol building among others wearing MAGA hats and carrying Donald Trump flags at approximately 15 minutes and 30 seconds into the recording.  The video suggests the windows in the door through which the videographer entered were smashed prior to his arrival in their location.

At one point in the recording, the gathered crowds watched, with apparent amazement, an MSNBC monitor showing live pictures from the exterior of the facility they had entered.

The person holding the camera exits the capitol building approximately one hour and ten minutes into the recording.

Later, another individual wearing tactical gear emblazoned with the word “PRESS” took a microphone and spoke like an activist.

“Mission accomplished,” the person said at approximately one hour and thirty-one minutes into the recording.  “History has been made here today.”

He later referenced the “lying press” set up elsewhere.

Another woman praised Trump for creating the Space Force to prevent aliens from taking over the planet as part of an alleged new world order.

The video ended with the videographer — again, allegedly Horn — leaving the grounds.

The FBI said Horn’s voice can be heard on the video, that he at one point entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s office, and that he elsewhere said “U.S.A.!” in a “raised voice” in the recording.  Elsewhere, the FBI said Horn stated it was “worth the risk so that accurate information could come out” about what was occurring (those words are the FBI’s paraphrase, not Horn’s exact words).

Elsewhere, according to court records, Horn said he did not witness property damage but did see others prevent property damage from occurring.  He said he “followed the crowd in,” that he was “on the front lines of the assault on the capitol,” but that he was “not there when they broke through most of the barriers around the outside of the capitol.”

In an interview with the FBI, Horn, with his attorney present, “admitted he stepped over a fence on the ground that warned trespassers not to go past that point before he entered the building.”  He also admitted standing “on a monument inside the Capitol with one hand on the wall and his other hand holding a cellphone, and also confirmed wearing a helmet inside the Capitol,” federal court papers say.

Horn is charged with (1) knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; (2) disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, (3) violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds, and (4) parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Read the charing documents below:

Stephen Ethan Horn Complaint and SOF by Law&Crime on Scribd

[featured image via federal court documents]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.