Candidate for George Santos’ old seat convicted on Jan. 6 charges after testifying he had ‘no idea’ Congress met in the Capitol

WASHINGTON — A New York man who is running for the congressional seat previously held by George Santos was convicted this week of charges relating to the Jan. 6 riot after he testified at his trial that he didn’t know Congress convened inside the Capitol.

Philip Sean Grillo, of Queens, was found guilty Tuesday of the felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, along with a series of misdemeanors like entering restricted grounds and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, the Justice Department said in a news release.

Grillo, 49, entered and exited the Capitol on Jan. 6 multiple times, at least once through a broken window, according to the Justice Department.

While he was inside the Capitol, Grillo was interviewed on camera about why he was there.

“I’m here to stop the steal,” he said, according to the Justice Department. “It’s our f—ing House!”

During the riot, Grillo recorded videos of himself in the Capitol.

“We f—ing did it, you understand? We stormed the Capitol,” Grillo said in one video, according to the Justice Department. “We shut it down! We did it!”

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Philip Sean Grillo in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. District Court for D.C.

Grillo’s attorneys had argued that he “believed he was authorized to engage in the conduct set forth in the indictment.”

He was arrested on Feb. 23, 2021.

His lawyers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s conviction. Grillo hasn’t yet been sentenced. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which took part in prosecuting the case, declined to comment.

Grillo in May filed as a candidate for New York’s 3rd Congressional District seat — the seat Santos, a Republican, held until his expulsion from the House last week following a scathing Ethics Committee report. The Justice Department noted that during his trial, Grillo testified that he had “no idea” that Congress convened inside the Capitol.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Grillo will also be a candidate in the Feb. 13 special election for the seat.

More than 1,230 people have been charged with crimes related to the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the Justice Department.