Brian Stenz reportedly told investigators that he didn't know that he'd broken into an official senator's office after he entered the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the court documents filed on Thursday, "Stenz was for the most part truthful during the interview. However, Stenz stated that he was inside the Capitol for about 3 minutes, when in fact he remained inside for 8 minutes. Additionally, Stenz did not disclose that he had entered a senator's office or any office for that matter. Instead, he stated that he went into what appeared to be a bookstore or gift shop."
Posting a screen capture of the excerpt, legal expert Marcy Wheeler also included a photo from the filing showing Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office. There was a bookshelf, conference table and chairs. There were no counters or cashiers, much less a room full of Capitol trinkets.
Brian Stenz told the FBI he walked into a bookstore in the Capitol.\n\nThat was Senator Merkley's hideaway office, where he looked at a book on the history of shoes.\n\nhttps://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.233158/gov.uscourts.dcd.233158.32.0.pdf\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/fRJZSGO4IS— emptywheel (@emptywheel) 1643910097
"In the video, Senator Merkley explained that rioters appeared to have 'smashed the door virtually off its hinges,' even though the door was unlocked. He pointed out how the floor was littered with debris," the filing said.
"He showed a scroll made for him by a Chinese calligrapher that rioters had torn from the wall. He said that the rioters 'left a Trump flag here to mark their presence.' Senator Merkley narrated how the rioters 'stole the laptop that was sitting on the table,' and panned across his conference table to show the damage and disarray. He then zoomed in on ashes and a cigarette butt on a desk to note that the rioters appeared to have been 'smoking something' in the office, before focusing on another discarded cigarette butt or joint on the floor. In Senator Merkley’s words, one could 'count this office trashed.'"
Stenz then sent some of the photos he took to friends via text message, the filing explained.