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Facial recognition used in arrest of 9/11 conspiracy theory lawyer accused of trying to disarm officer on Jan. 6

WASHINGTON — The FBI on Thursday arrested a New York lawyer who’s accused of attempting to disarm an officer defending the U.S. Capitol in the course of the Jan. 6 riot, legislation enforcement sources informed NBC Information.

John O’Kelly of East Williston, New York, faces two felony fees — assaulting, resisting or impeding officers, and civil dysfunction — together with 4 misdemeanor fees, in response to court docket paperwork.

WNBC in New York noticed legislation enforcement exercise at O’Kelly’s house on Thursday morning.

Authorities say O’Kelly tried to “disarm” a D.C. Metropolitan Police Division officer on Jan. 6 by grabbing an officer’s baton and “making an attempt to wrestle it from the officer’s fingers.” Physique digital camera footage cited in court docket paperwork confirmed the person recognized as O’Kelly pushing metallic bike rack fencing that was getting used to safe the Capitol perimeter.

John O’Kelly.U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the District of Columbia

O’Kelly, identified to on-line sleuths investigating the Jan. 6 assault as “MidWhiteCrisis,” was No. 294 on the FBI’s Capitol Violence web page, which options photographs of greater than 500 individuals needed in reference to the Jan. 6 assault.

O’Kelly was beforehand an lawyer for the Legal professionals’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, which believes that the Twin Towers have been introduced down by pre-planted explosives. In a 2019 lawsuit, the group sought to pressure the Justice Division to current their claims to a grand jury. A decide dismissed the lawsuit in March 2021, and an appeals court docket upheld the decrease court docket ruling in August 2022.

When reached for touch upon O’Kelly’s arrest, the group’s litigation director, Mick Harrison, informed NBC Information: “John is now not with us and we’re unfamiliar with the circumstances of the matter you’re inquiring about.”

An FBI affidavit says that the bureau obtained a tip about O’Kelly on July 8, 2021, in reference to Jan. 6 from somebody who used “open supply photograph ID software program” and recognized O’Kelly as a possible match.

“Following this tip, the FBI reviewed New York Division of Motor Automobiles (DMV) pictures of John O’Kelly, and used facial recognition software program to check O’Kelly’s DMV pictures to footage taken on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Facial recognition software program indicated that O’Kelly’s DMV photograph matched a second video taken on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 by an unknown particular person filming with what seems to be a mobile phone,” the FBI affidavit mentioned.

The FBI additionally mentioned it reviewed a photograph of O’Kelly on the Legal professionals’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry web site, and confirmed his identification by interviewing a “longtime good friend of the O’Kelly household who is aware of John O’Kelly personally.” FBI particular brokers additional mentioned they discovered a resort reservation for O’Kelly outdoors of Washington, D.C., used telephone data to substantiate his identification, and went to O’Kelly’s house to surveil him to substantiate identification.

Greater than 870 individuals have been arrested by the FBI in reference to the Jan. 6 assault. On Thursday, a 20-year-old North Carolina man who had been enlisted within the Air Power pleaded responsible to assaulting legislation enforcement and was ordered jailed till his sentencing.

Zoë Richards contributed.

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