Aaron Mostofsky, 34, was arrested and released on a $100,000 bond Tuesday.
January 12, 2021, 9:52 PM
• 7 min read
The man who was photographed Wednesday inside the Capitol wearing fur pelts and a bulletproof police vest while holding a Capitol Police riot shield was arrested Tuesday and later released on bond in connection with the Capitol riot led by pro-Trump supporters.
The FBI arrested Aaron Mostofsky, son of a prominent New York judge, at his brother’s home in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning.
Hours later, he appeared in a Brooklyn federal court where prosecutors called his alleged actions “a mob attack and a rampage through the U.S. Capitol.”
Mostofsky, 34, is facing four charges, including felony theft of government property, knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds with intent to impede government business, and unlawful entry and disorderly conduct, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
At the Tuesday court hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Hafetz said there is video of Mostofsky “inside of the Capitol with a police officer’s riot shield and appearing to wear a police officer’s bulletproof vest, neither of which he had the right to.”
“We have concerns about Mr. Mostofsky,” Hafetz added.
Mostofsky’s attorney, Jeffrey Schwartz, told the court he believes the evidence will show his client was not part of the mob.
“He was not rampaging. He got caught up in it,” Schwartz said. “He understands how the whole thing in Washington got totally out of hand.”
Judge Sanket Bulsara agreed to release Mostofsky on a $100,000 bond, with restrictions that require him to stay in the New York City area and prevent him from having any contact with any co-defendants or co-conspirators, participating in political gatherings or entering any state capitols.
Regarding the ban on state capitols, Hafetz noted there is a “potential for such gatherings. It is important for Mr. Mostofsky not to engage in the behavior he engaged in yesterday.”
The criminal complaint filed by the FBI included an image captured from a video interview Mostofsky gave to the New York Post, which shows him with the police vest and shield.
“The police riot shield and police vest are items of value belonging to the United States, specifically the US Capitol Police,” the complaint read, noting that the vest is valued at $1,905 and the shield at $256.65.
The complaint cited the Post interview, which appeared to have been conducted inside the Capitol building. During the interview, the complaint pointed out, Mostofsky explained his actions by stating he believed the election was stolen, adding “We were cheated. I don’t think 75 million people voted for Trump — I think it was close to 85 million.”
According to the complaint, Mostofsky indicated in the Post interview that he found the bulletproof vest and the shield on the floor.