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Utica man speaks about being detained at U.S. Capitol

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — They came from across America, summoned by President Donald Trump to march on Washington in support of his false claim that the November election was stolen and to stop the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the victor.

"Big protest in D.C. on January 6th," Trump tweeted a week before Christmas. "Be there, will be wild!"

The insurrectionist mob that showed up at the president's behest and stormed the U.S. Capitol was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists, members of the military and adherents of the QAnon myth that the government is secretly controlled by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile cannibals.

Records show that some were heavily armed and included convicted criminals, such as a Florida man recently released from prison for attempted murder.

The Associated Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee.

William Arthur Leary who owns a manufactured housing business in Utica. Leary told the AP that he strongly believes the election was stolen from Trump and that he went to Washington to show his support.

Leary said he doesn't trust information reported by the mainstream media and that one of his main sources of information was Infowars, the far-right conspiracy site run by Alex Jones. He denied he ever set foot in the Capitol and complained that he was held for more than 24 hours and had his cellphone seized.

"They treated us like animals," he complained. "They took all our phones. I didn't get to make a phone call to tell anybody where I was."

Leary said he remembers seeing a woman, Kristina Malimon, 28, sobbing at the detention center because she had been separated and not allowed to translate for her mother, who primarily speaks Russian. Both women had been charged with curfew violation and unlawful entry.

According to a video posted on her Instagram account, the younger Malimon says she was born in Moldova, where her family had faced persecution under the Soviet-era regime for their Christian beliefs.

Malimon, who traveled to D.C. from Portland, Oregon, is vice chairwoman of the Young Republicans of Oregon, according to the group's website and is also listed as an "ambassador" for the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA.

So far, at least 90 people have been arrested on charges ranging from misdemeanor curfew violations to felonies related to assaults on police officers, possessing illegal weapons and making death threats against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Trump supporters who died in the riot were Kevin D. Greeson, 55, of Athens, Alabama; Benjamin Philips, 50, of Ringtown, Pennsylvania; Ashli Babbitt, 35, of San Diego; and Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Kennesaw, Georgia.