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May 15, 2021

News West

West Coast News Network

2 at Capitol riot who claim they’re journalists are indicted

Two men who claimed they were covering the Capitol riot as journalists were indicted by a federal grand jury this week in connection with the attack.

A grand jury in Washington, D.C., charged Nicholas DeCarlo and Nicholas Ochs with crimes related to the insurrection, including stealing and destroying government property, physical violence in a restricted building and “conspiring to obstruct” a congressional vote to certify the 2020 election. The charges were contained in an indictment released by federal prosecutors this week.

The indictment noted that both men posted footage of themselves in the Capitol online after the Jan. 6 attack. In an interview last month with The Times, DeCarlo claimed he and Ochs were journalists, not rioters. They were affiliated with Murder the Media, a Monte Rio, Calif.-based company that livestreamed video.

Ochs, 34, of Waikiki, founded the Hawaii chapter of the right-wing extremist Proud Boys, which on Wednesday was named as a terrorist group by Canada. He was arrested after he returned to Hawaii from Washington. He was later released.

A court record includes a social media post with DeCarlos and Ochs' photo inside the Capitol.

Federal court records charging DeCarlo and Ochs in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

(Pacer)

DeCarlo, 30, of Burleson, Texas, was charged last month based in part on his posts and comments to The Times. He was arrested at his north Texas home last week and released on house arrest on the condition he not use the internet. He learned of the indictment late Wednesday from The Times.

“I expected something like this,” DeCarlo said of the charges, because “I’ve been speaking poorly of the government for some time.”

In addition to his reporting, DeCarlo said he also worked trading bitcoin, online currency.

“I can’t do any of that now,” he said. “How am I supposed to make a living when my career is online?”

DeCarlo and Ochs were charged with stealing U.S. Capitol Police flex cuffs and scrawling “Murder the Media” on the Capitol’s Memorial Door during the attack, according to the indictment and federal prosecutors, who cited a photograph of the pair posing in front of the graffiti. DeCarlo admitted to entering the Capitol but said he was there to report and did not break in or cause any damage.

“I don’t know what hooligan did that,” said DeCarlo, who goes by “Dick NeCarlo” online.

A video the two men posted online suggested they were active participants in taking over the Capitol: Ochs says, “Congress stopped the vote when we stormed the Capitol. As we’ve been saying all day: We came here to stop the steal.”

“We did it!” DeCarlo replies. “That’s what I came down here to do. That’s what we did.”

Separately, federal agents this week arrested a member of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys for his alleged role in storming the Capitol.

Ethan Nordean, a self-described “sergeant of arms” for the Seattle Proud Boys, was charged with impeding an official government proceeding, aiding and abetting, knowingly entering restricted grounds, and violent entry.

At least 168 people have been charged so far in connection with the riot. Investigators have focused on members of several extremist groups, including the paramilitary Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, self-described Nazis and white supremacists. But many in the mob had no militant affiliations.

Unlike Nordean and Ochs, DeCarlo said he was not a member of the Proud Boys. But he said the Proud Boys had raised money for his defense as outrage grew on the right about overreach by “alphabet agencies” of the federal government including the FBI, which has been arresting Capitol rioters. A supporter is using selfie photos the pair snapped at the Capitol to make “Free the Nicks” T-shirts.

“Everybody is realizing these agencies have never been there to help us. The only people they really protect are congressmen,” DeCarlo said.