Jan. 6 rioter with ‘Foxmania’ pleads guilty to felony Capitol attack charge

WASHINGTON — A Jan. 6 defendant whose attorney said was infected with “Foxmania” from watching too much Fox News pleaded guilty in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Anthony Alexander Antonio, a 29-year-old who lives in Delaware, pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting. The guilty plea came the same day the Supreme Court agreed to take up a challenge to the use of obstruction of an official proceeding charges in Jan. 6-related cases.

At an early hearing in his case, Antonio’s attorney Joseph Hurley said that Fox News “played constantly” in his home for six months.

“He became hooked with what I call ‘Foxitus’ or ‘Foxmania’ and became interested in the political aspect and started believing what was being fed to him,” Hurley said.

riot u.s. capitol 2021 police
Anthony Alexander Antonio, left, during the U.S. Capitol riot in 2021.DOJ

In his agreed-upon statement of offense, Antonio admits that he yelled at police before joining the standoff at the lower west tunnel of the Capitol, where some of the worst violence of Jan. 6 took place.

“You want war?” he shouted. “We got war. 1776 all over again.”

After taking possession of a shield that had been stolen from police, Antonio shoved his way to the front of the crowd and watched as rioters dragged an officer down a set of stairs. Antonio “sprayed water and threw his water bottle in the direction of the officer who was being dragged by other rioters,” the statement said.

Antonio later took a police gas mask and “forcefully pushed and grappled with police officers and refused to leave the tunnel until sprayed with a chemical irritant,” it said.

Antonio soon entered the Capitol through a broken window, joining other rioters in a Senate “hideaway” office. “We barricaded the door, broke everything, so we’d have something to use against ’em,” he later said in an interview while on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, according to the statement.

Antonio, in an interview with the FBI, later said that he did not help an officer when he should have. His sentencing range is 33 to 51 months in federal prison. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson will sentence Antonio, who is now represented by attorney Robert Lee Jenkins Jr., in August 2024.

More than 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and hundreds more have been identified by online sleuths but not yet arrested.