A Connecticut mother and her daughter have been charged with taking part in the storming of the US Capitol after a friend on Facebook reported photos to the FBI.
Jean Lavin and her daughter Carla Krzywicki, 19, were charged with entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct and two other offences for allegedly entering the seat of the US Congress through a broken door during the riot on 6 January.
Both were arrested on Tuesday, released without bail, and ordered to appear by Zoom before a court in Washington DC on 21 September, according to the Connecticut TV news station WFSB.
An FBI warrant issued last week said the pair had admitted climbing up a bike rack onto the Capitol terrace and walking around inside the building for about 50 minutes in total.
It included a selfie posted on Facebook that allegedly shows the two women outside the Capitol, declaring: “This is history… that is our house and you work for us.”
Ms Lavin and Ms Krzywicki are among 608 people facing federal charges in connection with the Capitol siege, in which supporters of former president Donald Trump and members of paramilitary groups attempted to forcibly overturn his election defeat.
The defendants hail from almost every state in the US, as well as the District of Columbia. More than 85 per cent of defendants were charged in part using evidence from their social media profiles, according to a report from George Washington University in DC.
Their supporters have organised a “Justice for J6” protest on 18 September, describing them as “political prisoners” who are being “persecuted for their beliefs”. Members of Congress and their staff have been advised to avoid the rally due to the possibility that far-right groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys will attend.
On Wednesday, it emerged that an officer of the Capitol Police itself has been accused of leaking the secure location where legislators were sheltered during the riot.
According to the FBI warrant, Ms Lavin and Ms Krzywicki went to Washington on 6 January on a bus trip organised by a local Facebook group, but missed Mr Trump’s speech because their driver got lost in New York.
Photos included in the warrant allegedly show Ms Lavin carrying a sign that read “TRUMP WON” as she strolls around the Capitol corridors with her daughter.
The investigation was triggered by a tipster who sent a screenshot of Ms Krzywicki’s alleged Facebook post to the FBI. The screenshot was taken from a smartphone and included a privacy setting icon, indicating that the tip came from one of her own Facebook friends.
The FBI then traced the pair’s phone records and studied footage posted on the internet, before interviewing both of them at their homes.
According to the warrant, Ms Krzywicki admitted posting a picture on Facebook, “but later deleted it because it seemed like a bad idea to leave it up”.