A Florida man described by the FBI as a “de facto leader” of the U.S. Capitol riot mob for his violent attacks on police has pleaded to multiple felony charges in connection with the January 6 attack.
Mitchell Todd Gardner II, 34, of Seffner, Florida, signed a plea agreement providing for a sentencing range of 46 to 57 months and fines ranging $20,000 to $200,000. That’s among the higher totals for defendants who have plead guilty to crimes related to the January 6 riot, but anticipates Gardner asking that fines not be imposed.
“Gardner was part of a mob just outside the Lower West Terrace Tunnel from approximately 3:45 p.m. until at least 4:05 p.m.,” according to a Department of Justice news release. “During that time, he shouted, among other things, “drag them out,” and “pull the cops out.”
“Gardner used a (police pepper spray) device against officers within the tunnel area. The contents hit one officer directly in the face shield and splattered onto two additional officers. This caused the officers to cough for an extended period and also burned their eyes.
“Gardner also urged other rioters to use a ladder to break into a window. When the ladder was not used, Gardner stood on a window ledge outside of a Senate Terrace Room and damaged the window with the Oleoresin Capsicum device. (While inside the Capitol), Gardner “waved other rioters to come closer or into the building. He also handed another rioter what looked to be a table/desk leg; that object was used to assault police officers.”
As reported last June by Raw Story, the prosecution described Gardner as having taken a "de facto leadership role" in the riots. He was seen on a ledge outside the Senate portion of the building, using a red canister in a black case to break a window, according to a statement of facts that accompanied a criminal complaint. DOJ stated today that the window took $2,900 to replace.
Gardner was also notable at the time because prosecutors described him as “as having a hefty monthly income through his job with a roofing company. He also owns a 2017 BMW, the government said.
"He got married last year but is in the process of separating from his wife and has been "staying in hotels, and essentially couch surfing with friends," the prosecutor said. He has no local family members."
Gardner admitted to a witness that he was at the Capitol and that "things got a little crazy," according to the report.
You can read the FBI criminal complaint against Gardner here.