Summerfield man tied to Jan. 6 riot sentenced

Michael Curzio [Submitted}
A Summerfield man who was part of a white supremacist prison gang when he served time for attempted murder pleaded guilty Monday to joining the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol, and will be released from jail this week after serving six months for his role in the Jan. 6 riot.

Michael Curzio, who has been locked up since Jan. 14, is the first of more than 500 people charged with federal crimes in the Capitol attack to be sentenced to time behind bars. He was sentenced to six months after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, but gets credit for the time already served and will be released on Wednesday.

Curzio was arrested in Summerfield for the Jan. 6 riot less than two years after he was released from a Florida prison in 2019 after serving an eight-year sentence for attempted murder. Court records from Florida show that he shot the boyfriend of his former girlfriend in a fight at her home.

Prosecutors pointed to his criminal record to keep him behind bars after his January arrest even though he faced only misdemeanor charges in the riot. Authorities wrote in court documents that Curzio was part of a violent white supremacist gang called the Unforgiven when he was behind bars in Florida and has tattoos with Nazi imagery.

On Jan. 6, Curzio was part of a crowd near the door to the House atrium that refused orders to leave, authorities say. His attorney said Monday that his sentence was “harsher than it should have been” because of his criminal record.

“He didn’t attack anybody. He didn’t break anything. He was just walking around the building like a lot of other people were,” attorney A. Eduardo Balarezo said in an interview.

Curzio’s lawyer wrote in court documents arguing for his release from jail that his client joined the Unforgiven “in order to survive in prison” after being attacked several times by other inmates. His lawyer wrote that Curzio is no longer associated with the gang but doesn’t have the funds to remove the tattoos.

“It is notable that on January 6, 2021, Mr. Curzio did not go to the Capitol in the company of any gang members; he did not wear any gang colors; he did not give a Nazi salute; he did not have any posters with Nazi insignias. In short, his presence at the Capitol had nothing to do with his prior gang affiliation,” Balarezo wrote in April.

Curzio is the second defendant to be sentenced for the Jan. 6 riot. The first person to be sentenced is an Indiana woman who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. She was ordered to serve three years of probation, perform 120 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution.

More than a dozen defendants have pleaded guilty, including two members of the Oath Keepers militia group who admitted conspiring with other extremists to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

At least five other Marion County residents are facing charges related to the Capitol riot:

Kenneth Kelly reportedly drove to Washington, DC from Florida “knowing full well they were going to break in,” according to the relative that reported him to the FBI.

The unnamed witness also provided text messages that had photos reportedly from Kelly stating, “breaking into the Capitol building via smashing windows.”

Using GPS information, investigators were able to track Kelly’s phone in the Capitol from 2:56 to 3:09 p.m. on Jan. 6. Surveillance video stills also show a person that appears to be Kelly entering the Capitol and walking through the halls while holding a cell phone.

He is charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Kelly is represented by George E. Tragos. He was released on $25,000 bond with instruction to check in with the court once a week.

Kelly also had to surrender his passport and his travel is restricted to the Middle District of Florida and the District of Columbia, unless he receives special permission.

 

Kelly and Connie Meggs’ arrests became one of the highest-profile cases.

The media attention was so intense that a judge threatened a gag order.

“The fact is, these types of statements in the media have the potential of affecting the jury pool and the rights of these defendants, and the government, quite frankly, in my view, should know better,” said Judge Amit P. Mehta.

The Meggses were charged with conspiracy against the United States government, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, destruction of government property and aiding and abetting, entering and remaining in a restricted building, and tampering with documents or proceedings.

According to their indictment, the Meggses, and 10 others charged with them, conspired to “stop, delay, and hinder Congress’s certification of the Electoral College vote” as early as Nov. 3. On Dec. 22, Kelly Meggs wrote a series of messages on Facebook to another individual that read, in part:

  • “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your (expletive)!!”
  • “Nice, we will have at least 50-100 OK (Oath Keepers) there.”

On Jan. 6 they joined others to “form a stack of individuals wearing Oath Keepers clothing, patches, insignia, and battle gear. Together, the stack maneuvered in an organized and practiced fashion up the steps on the east side of the Capitol—each individual keeping at least one hand on the shoulder of the other in front of them,” according to the indictment.

The group eventually entered the Capitol, according to officials. While Connie Meggs was released on bond, Kelly Meggs remains in custody.

Connie Meggs must wear a GPS monitor and other than court, church, grocery shopping and seeking employment, she is restricted to her property. She can have no contact with Oath Keepers, and can have no access to computers, smartphones, tablets or any device that would allow her to communicate through either encrypted or non-encrypted applications.

Jamie and Jennifer Buteau were seen on closed-circuit television entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 at about 2:25 p.m., according to the charging documents.

They entered the building through a broken door in the Senate wing. Minutes later, Jamie Buteau is accused of throwing a chair at Capitol Police officers as they rolled down metal doors to close off an interior passage. While the video does not show Jamie Buteau throw the chair, the timing of the event shown through surveillance and online videos makes it clear he threw the chair, reports state.

Jamie Buteau is then seen dragging another chair around the building before the couple leaves the Capitol through the south door at about 2:46 p.m., according to reports.

Both were identified through social media posts on Parler. The couple was each charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Jamie Buteau was additionally charged with obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers, engaging in violence on restricted grounds, and engaging in violence on Capitol grounds. Jamie Buteau was released on $25,000 bond. He was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and is prohibited from traveling to Washington, D.C., except as related to his case. He also had to surrender his passport. Jennifer Buteau was released on $25,000 bond.

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