By CUNEYT DIL
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia state lawmaker has been charged with entering a restricted area of the U.S. Capitol after he live streamed himself rushing into the building with a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters.
Ken Kohl, a top deputy federal prosecutor in Washington, announced the charge against Republican state Del. Derrick Evans on a call in which he presented dozens of new charges against members of the crowd that violently stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
His lawyer, John Bryan, said he hadn’t seen the complaint against Evans and couldn’t comment. He did not say if Evans had been taken into custody, but television station WSAZ posted a video on Twitter showing FBI agents escorting the handcuffed lawmaker from a home.
“He’s a fine man. And thank you, Mr. Trump, for inviting a riot at the White House,” a woman identifying herself as Evans’ grandmother told station reporters as her grandson was being taken into custody.
Legislators from at least seven other states traveled to Washington, D.C., to back Trump and demonstrate against the counting of electoral votes confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
It’s unknown if any other elected official joined the attack on the Capitol.
In Tennessee, legislation was introduced Friday that would require the state authorities to investigate any Tennessean participating in Wednesday’s events.
The proposal from Democratic state Rep. London Lamar specifically clarifies that any “seditious and treasonous acts” that took place at the U.S. Capitol by an elected official would constitute grounds for immediate removal.
The legislation comes days after Republican state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver described Wednesday night as “epic” after attending the demonstrations. It’s unclear if Weaver entered the Capitol.
A growing number of Republicans and Democrats said they want to expel Evans from the legislature if he does not resign. Bryan said late Thursday that the delegate did not commit a crime and doesn’t plan to resign.
No one in the office of West Virginia Republican House leader Roger Hanshaw responded to an email requesting comment.
In his now-deleted video, widely shared online, Evans is clamoring inside a jampacked Capitol building doorway, trying with others to push his way inside. He hollers along with other Trump loyalists and fist-bumps a law enforcement officer who let them in.
Evans’ lawyer has said he was acting as an amateur journalist recording the day’s events and that he was not involved in violence.
After pushing into the building, video shows Evans milling around the Capitol Rotunda, where historic paintings depict the republic’s founding, and imploring others to not vandalize artwork and busts. Some of the pieces were later vandalized.
“Our house!” Evans yells inside Capitol halls. “I don’t know where we’re going. I’m following the crowd.”