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CT politician faces charges over US Capitol riot

Gino DiGiovanni Jr. (lower right, facing left) appears outside the U.S. Capitol, January 06, 2021, in a screenshot from a video used as evidence by the Department of Justice in their case against Nicholas DeCarlo. DiGiovanni later entered The Capitol through the Upper West Terrace door.
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Department of Justice
Gino DiGiovanni Jr. (lower right, facing left) appears outside the U.S. Capitol, January 06, 2021, in a screenshot from a video used as evidence by the Department of Justice in their case against Nicholas DeCarlo. DiGiovanni later entered The Capitol through the Upper West Terrace door.

A mayoral candidate and alderman in the town of Derby faces several federal charges in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Gino DiGiovanni Jr. turned himself in Tuesday at federal court in New Haven. According to NBC Connecticut,DiGiovanni faces two counts of entering a restricted building, one count of disorderly conduct inside a Capitol building, and one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing inside a Capitol building.

DiGiovanni was captured on surveillance video entering the Capitol on Jan. 6. He had also previously admitted he entered the Capitol that day.

"It's an inopportune time,” DiGiovani's lawyer Martin J. Minnella told WFSB-TV outside the court on Tuesday. “We were waiting for this, at least since January. He professes his innocence and we welcome his day in court."

Last fall, DiGiovanni acknowledged that he entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 after he attended former President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally. He has told NBC Connecticut he did not commit, or even witness, any acts of violence. Trump supporters stormed the building that day, trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

DiGiovanni wasn’t an elected official at the time of the riot. Reports of his involvement did not stop him from earning the nomination for Derby mayor last month from the local Republican town committee.

Derby Mayor Richard Dziekan had earlier dismissed the news that DiGiovanni was at the Capitol.

“Politics, pure and simple,” Dziekan said in a written statement emailed to Connecticut Public last fall. “If Gino we’re not a elected [sic] Republican official it would have never seen the light of day.”

DiGiovanni faces Dziekan in the Sept. 12 Republican mayoral primary.

Several Connecticut residents have been charged or sentenced for their participation in the Capitol attack. Most recently,21-year-old Westport resident Benjamin Cohen faced several charges, including assaulting an officer during the attack. In April, Ridgefield resident Patrick McCaughey III was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison for crushing a police officer in a door frame. It was the second-longest sentence handed down related to the riot at that point.

DiGiovanni is now among more than 1,100 people charged in the riot, including more than 350 who have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cassandra Basler oversees Connecticut Public’s flagship daily news programs, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She’s also an editor of the station’s limited series podcast, 'In Absentia' and producer of the five-part podcast Unforgotten: Connecticut’s Hidden History of Slavery.

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