Three active-duty Marines face charges in the January 6 riot

A Marine who said he was waiting for “Civil War 2” and two other active-duty military personnel have been charged with involvement in the U.S. Capitol riots, authorities said in newly filed court filings.

Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate and Dodge Dale Hellonen were arrested on misdemeanor charges this week after their fellow Marines helped investigators identify them in footage among the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021, court filings show.

Dozens of defendants have military backgrounds, but these three belong to only a handful on active duty. A Marine Corps officer seen on camera tussling with police and helping other members of the mob force their way into the Capitol was charged in 2021.

The men’s defense attorneys were not listed in the court filing, so it was not immediately clear if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

Their service records show they are all active duty Marines. Maj. Kevin Stephensen, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, said it was aware of the allegations and was “fully cooperating with relevant authorities in support of the investigation.”

Coomer, from Indiana, is stationed at Camp Pendleton, Southern California; Abate of Virginia is at Fort Meade, Maryland; and Hellonen of Michigan is based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, according to the Marines.

The men spent about 52 minutes inside the Capitol, authorities say. At one point, while they were in the rotunda, they placed a red “Make American Great Again” hat on a statue to take photos with, according to court records. According to authorities, Hellonen wore a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

Coomer posted photos to Instagram apparently taken in the Capitol with the caption “Glad to be a apart of History,” according to court documents. Days after the 2020 election, he and another person discussed via an Instagram message how he believed the election was rigged.

And in late January 2021, he told another person in a message that “everything in this country is corrupt.”

“We honestly need a fresh start. Waiting for the boogaloo,” Coomer wrote in a message cited in court documents. When asked by the person what “a boogaloo” was, Coomer replied “Civil War 2,” authorities said.

The Boogaloo is an anti-government, gun-friendly extremist movement. Its name refers to a slang term for a sequel – in this case, a second US civil war. The movement is named after Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, a 1984 sequel to a film about breakdancing.

Supporters have emerged at protests against COVID-19 lockdown orders and racial injustice protests, carrying guns and donning tactical gear over Hawaiian shirts. The shirts are a nod to “Big Luau,” a nod to the term “boogaloo” sometimes preferred by group members.

During an interview related to his security clearance in June, Abate admitted walking through the Capitol with two “buddies,” investigators said. Abate said they “walked around trying not to be hit with tear gas”.

The Pentagon said Abate was assigned to the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion, which assists the National Security Agency. As one of the largest US intelligence agencies, the NSA snoops on electronic communications around the world and plays a critical role in deterring cyberattacks and foreign influence operations.

An NSA spokesman declined to answer questions about when the agency learned of Abate’s testimony that he had entered the Capitol, or whether they had taken steps to restrict his access to classified information prior to his arrest.

The trio faces charges including illegal entry and disorderly conduct.

Among the January 6 defendants with a military background are members of the far-right group Oath Keepers, who are accused of plotting to use force to keep President Donald Trump in power. The group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper, was convicted of seditious conspiracy in November.

A Virginia Navy reservist accused of storming the Capitol was convicted this week of illegally possessing silencers disguised to look like harmless cleaning supplies. Hatchet Speed ​​is due to go to trial later this year in his January 6 case.

And a former US Army reservist who prosecutors have labeled a Nazi sympathizer has been convicted of storming the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory. Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, a Navy base security officer, was sentenced to four years in prison in September.

So far nearly 1,000 people have been charged over the riots and the number is rising by the week. Nearly 500 people have pleaded guilty in connection with rioting and more than three dozen have been convicted in court.

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