Cheektowaga man charged in attack on Capitol
A Western New York man has been charged in relation to the storming of the Capitol last week.
Peter Harding, of Cheektowaga, was charged with two misdemeanors, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. The charges carry a maximum of one year and six months in federal prison, respectively.
Harding went before Western District of New York Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy virtually from the Niagara County Jail, following arrest from the FBI and U.S. Marshals.
His defense team argued he be released on his own recognizance, citing ties to the community, and a “history of peaceful activism,” to prove he isn’t a threat. The prosecution disagreed, citing statements listed in the criminal complaint that Harding had said in a social media video of his own:
“We learned how strong we are. We learned how strong our voices are. We learned how strong our numbers are. If we can take the Capitol building, there is nothing we can’t accomplish - county government, city government, town government, state government.”
Judge McCarthy ultimately decided Harding will be given a monitored release, which includes electronic tracking, forfeiture of firearms, computer and internet monitoring, and restricted travel.
In other social media posts and a Buffalo News interview, Harding had admitted to being in the Capitol building, and “symbolically” trying to set media equipment on fire outside, but believed he did nothing wrong.
Harding will ultimately face further court proceedings in D.C. District Court, as the charges were filed from there. He has yet to enter a plea