Former National Guard Member Arrested Over Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Matthew Honigford accused of assaulting law enforcement officers.
Former National Guard Member Arrested Over Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Police and protesters outside the U.S. Capitol's Rotunda in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

An Ohio man who was part of the National Guard when he assaulted law enforcement officers at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was arrested on Nov. 21, according to court documents.

Matthew Honigford and other rioters clashed with a group of U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, prosecutors said, citing body camera footage from the officers.

Mr. Honigford was captured pushing a flagpole into the chest of one officer before using his body to push a barrier into a line the officers had formed, according to the footage.

He also told others in the area to “pull it down” in apparent reference to the barriers and tried following the crowd when it successfully breached the police line.

Mr. Honigford ignored commands from officers and others not to touch officers but also later handed a silver pole he was holding to officers, telling them, “I don’t want us to have this,” according to charging documents.

Mr. Honigford was also quoted as telling officers that he was praying for them.

Records obtained by investigators from Google, Verizon, and law enforcement databases matched the individual seen in the footage with Mr. Honigford, with the data showing he arrived in Washington on Jan. 6 and was in the vicinity of the Capitol from about 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. that day. The data showed he returned to Ohio on Jan. 7.

Bank records showed that Mr. Honigford was employed by the Ohio Army National Guard until March 2022, when he was honorably discharged for completing his enlistment.

A National Guard staff sergeant helped identify Mr. Honigford. The sergeant said that shortly after the November 2020 presidential election, Mr. Honigford stopped reporting to drill weekends, saying his sister was sick, he needed to help her, and “that he did not trust the current state of the country following the election of Joe Biden as president,” according to the charging documents.

Mr. Honigford was hit with charges including entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and forcibly assaulting or impeding an officer.

Mr. Honigford is not being accused of entering the Capitol itself.

An arrest warrant was issued on Nov. 17.

Mr. Honigford was arrested on Nov. 21, prompting the unsealing of the case.

Mr. Honigford had not yet appeared in court, according to the court docket. He did not have a lawyer listed.

To date, more than 1,200 people have been charged for crimes related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Prosecutors have vowed to continue charging people.

In this image from body camera video, an individual identified by prosecutors as Matthew Honigford, left, holds a pole out to officers in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Department of Justice via The Epoch Times)
In this image from body camera video, an individual identified by prosecutors as Matthew Honigford, left, holds a pole out to officers in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Department of Justice via The Epoch Times)

New York Man Sentenced

A New York massage therapist who participated in the Jan. 6 protest was sentenced on Tuesday to three months in jail.

Frank Rocco Giustino pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor charge related to the Capitol breach. He was arrested in October after failing to appear in court for an earlier sentencing hearing.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg told Giustino that he seemed to have no remorse for his conduct on Jan. 6 or any respect for the court’s authority.

“Your behavior from the moment of the (guilty) plea until sentencing has been about the worst of any Jan. 6th defendant I’ve had,” the judge, appointed under President Barack Obama, said during the hearing.

Mr. Giustino said he condemns the violence at the Capitol and didn’t intend to be disrespectful.

“I just want to go home,” said Mr. Giustino, who will remain in custody for approximately two more months.

The judge sentenced Mr. Giustino to 90 days of imprisonment with credit for the roughly 30 days that he has remained in custody while awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors recommended a sentence of four months of incarceration. They initially asked for a 21-day sentence, but they sought a longer term of imprisonment after Mr. Giustino disrupted a June 23 court hearing with defiant outbursts.

During the June hearing, Mr. Giustino derided his case as “an absolute clown show of a prosecution.” He told the judge that he fired his lawyer and wanted to represent himself.

“We’re not doing any sentencing date,“ he said, according to a transcript. ”Have you guys heard anything that I have said? Have you seen anything that I have filed? This is not a real court. There is not a single judicial officer here presiding on my case.”

He also said he might issue an arrest warrant for the judge.

Mr. Giustino pleaded guilty in February to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months of incarceration. More than 400 others have pleaded guilty to the same charge.

Mr. Giustino failed to appear in court twice after he pleaded guilty, missing a status conference in June and a sentencing hearing in September. The judge issued a warrant for Mr. Giustino’s arrest after he skipped his sentencing. He was arrested in Florida in October.

Mr. Giustino was captured on video entering the Capitol and spent about 35 minutes inside.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.