WASHINGTON, D.C. (CW39) – A Texas man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge for his role in the U.S. Capitol Breach on Jan. 6, 2021.
Christian Cortez, 28, of Seabrook, was charged with civil disorder for taunting law enforcement who were attempting to secure the Capitol.
A co-defendant, Benjamin Larocca, 28, also of Seabrook, pleaded last month to a misdemeanor charge of engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business. He is awaiting sentencing.
According to court documents, Cortez and Larocca traveled from Texas to Washington and, on Jan. 6, attended a rally near the Washington Monument. They then proceeded to the Capitol, where they climbed the stairs on the West side of the Capitol, ultimately reaching the Upper West Terrace. Both men entered the Capitol at approximately 2:53 p.m. through the Parliamentarian Door. They traveled through the building before law enforcement stopped them and others from proceeding further into the building.
After leaving the building, Cortez joined a crowd in front of the North Doors, where rioters were attempting to break Capitol doors down, and law enforcement officers were trying to keep rioters outside the building. Cortez stepped in front of the doors while officers were trying to shut them. He then began swearing at the officers and calling them “oath breakers.”
Cortez and Larocca were arrested March 26, 2021, in Seabrook.
Cortez is to be sentenced on Aug. 31. He faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
In the 16 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 250 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.