Suspect accused of smoking pot in Merkley's office
WASHINGTON, D.C. — An upstate New York man has been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection in Washington, FBI officials announced Sunday.
Brandon Fellows, 26, of Schenectady, N.Y. was arrested Saturday night and charged with one count each of being in a restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct.
A FBI statement identified Fellows as from the Capital Region, but an affidavit gave his residence more specifically as Schenectady.
"Our office arrested Capital Region resident Brandon Fellows last night for his role in last week's riot and assault on the Capitol building in DC. We are determined to help our colleagues at @FBIWFO identify, investigate, and bring to justice anyone involved in the siege and I expect more arrests in our region. We remain grateful to the community for the tremendous assistance and continue to encourage anyone with information to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit fbi.gov/USCapitol," a statement from the FBI in Albany reads.
Fellows was interviewed last week by Bloomberg about his actions during the siege, an article referenced in the federal affidavit.
Fellows told the outlet he drove to Washington after seeing a tweet from the president and said he went just to hear the president speak.
Bloomberg then wrote that Fellows not only went into the Capital with the rioters, but propped his feet on a senator's table while smoking a joint, heckled officers and posted videos online.
"I have no regrets," Fellows told Bloomberg in the story. "I didn't hurt anyone, I didn't break anything. I did trespass though, I guess."
The Bloomberg story did not identify Schenectady as his specific residence, but indicated he lived in Upstate New York in a converted school bus.
The federal affidavit details the allegations against Fellows and describe his actions caught on video that day. The affidavit also identified the senator's office as that of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.
The senator posted his own video after the insurrection indicating items were stolen, damaged or destroyed, the affidavit reads. The affidavit, however, also noted that there was no information at the time of filing linking Fellows to the damage or theft, only that he was part of the group in the office at the time.
The affidavit references a series of photos posted to an Instagram account believed used by Fellows two days after the insurrection, including one showing a person sitting on a police motorcycle wearing a fake orange beard. The man identified himself in videos as Fellows, the affidavit reads.
The FBI compared photos of the man and photos linked with Fellows, including one from his driver's license, and found them consistent with Fellows.
In one video from CNN, Fellows in the fake beard, is seen being interviewed on CNN.
"Yeah we went in there and then I walked in and there's just a whole bunch of people lighting up in some Oregon room ... they were smoking a bunch of weed in there," Fellows told the reporter, the affidavit reads.
The affidavit also quoted Fellows from the CNN interview as saying "cops are very cool, they were like hey guys have a goodnight, some of them, which is crazy, it's really weird, you can see that some of them were on our side."
Inside the Capitol, a man who appeared to be Fellows was recorded in Sen. Merkley's office by another accused rioter, a person who went by the name "Baked Alaska," the affidavit reads.
Far-right media personality Tim Gionet, who goes by the name "Baked Alaska," was also arrested Saturday.
The Fellows affidavit indicated that the man who appeared to be Fellows was seen sitting at the table with his feet propped up on the table.
The investigation then continued and, on Jan. 12, a witness provided screenshots from the "Brandon Craig Fellows" Facebook account that showed the words: "We took the Capitol and it was glorious" under the profile photo, the affidavit reads.
In one discussion captured by the screen shot, the operator of the Brandon Craig Fellows account responded to someone who wrote the rioters had accomplished nothing and that the government wasn't scared of them.
"oh I saw the fear And they know many of us had guns at our hotel rooms and vehicles... we just aren't pissed enough to kill the police or military. But we will fight them and make them retreat. Maybe things will get worse. All I do know is the more we are forced and silenced into things that we don't agree with the worse it will be."
The affidavit then referenced the Bloomberg story, as well as a TikTok account believed to be used by Fellows.
In a video posted to the TikTok account, Fellows was quoted as saying "I'm not a terrorist, but I will be posting more photos so long as the FBI doesn't come get me for walking in and taking photos and saying have a nice night to the police."
Fellows appeared to be ready to be arrested, according to a video posted to the Instagram account linked to him. The most recent video on the account showed him eating at a restaurant, referencing jail and calling it his last meal apparently before jail.
Fellows was taken into custody Saturday night and he is due in court in Albany Tuesday afternoon.