WASHINGTON — A California man already facing serious felony charges for allegedly using an electroshock device against a downed police officer on January 6 is now accused of conspiring with two friends to commit violence, according to a new indictment unsealed Monday by the Justice Department.
Daniel Rodriguez, 38, of Panorama City, California, is now under indictment on nine federal counts in connection with the assault on the U.S. Capitol Building. Those counts including assaulting a federal police officer, obstruction of an official proceeding, inflicting bodily injury using a dangerous weapon and, now, conspiracy.
In a superseding indictment filed earlier this month and unsealed this week, federal prosecutors say Rodriguez and two other people – his friend, Edward Badalian, and an unnamed co-defendant – used Telegram chats to plan to collect and bring weapons and walkie talkies to D.C. on January 6 to attend former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally.
In one post in the Telegram group, named “PATRIOTS 45,” the DOJ says Badalian wrote, “We need to violently remove traitors and if they are in key positions rapidly replace them with able bodied patriots.” Badalian now faces charges of conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, tampering with documents and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds.
In another post, on December 29, Rodriguez allegedly posted, “Congress can hang. I’ll do it. Please let us get these people dear God.”
The DOJ also says Rodriguez told a person who testified to a federal grand jury that he would “assassinate Joe Biden” if he got the chance and “would rather die than live under a Biden administration.”
The day before the riot, Rodriguez allegedly posted to the same Telegram group, “There will be blood. Welcome to the revolution.”
Once the riot began, the DOJ has accused Rodriguez of taking part in the assault of D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone. Rodriguez is accused of using a flagpole and a stun-gun like weapon to assault Fanone while he was lying semi-conscious on the ground.
In an interview with WUSA9, Fanone said he remembers wondering if his four daughters would be OK without him as he was beaten, tased and suffered a heart attack during the assault. Fanone said rioters grabbed pieces of equipment off his vest as he was being beaten, and that he heard members of the mob chanting, “Kill him with his own gun.”
The new indictment also includes allegations that, upon returning to California, Rodriguez asked if he and Badalian could come to the unnamed third co-defendant’s home, where a fourth person – redacted in the document – unplugged all of their Amazon Alexa devices and mimed not to speak out loud. This fourth person then allegedly wrote on a notebook, “I WANT TO HELP YOU DELETE EVERYTHING AND TRANSFER THE FILES TO A SECURE HARD DRIVE.” According to investigators, the third co-defendant believed Rodriguez and Badalian were concerned because they had inadvertently used Badalian’s real name while calling into InfoWars host Owen Shroyer’s show. (Shroyer himself now also faces unrelated charges in connection with the Capitol riot.)
In addition to the new charges against Rodriguez, on Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the Justice Department to release video footage entered in his case showing him confessing during an interview with FBI agents. Rodriguez had previously fought to have the confession thrown out.
In the videos, Rodriguez describes finding a sense of purpose through attending rallies for former President Donald Trump – and then his fear that President Joe Biden’s election would lead to Trump supporters like him being “rounded up.” On January 6, he said, he answered Trump’s call to come to “battle” in D.C.
“I thought that there was going to be fighting, for some reason, in different cities and I thought that the main fight, the main battle, was going to be in D.C. because Trump called everyone there,” Rodriguez said.
When Trump told supporters at this “Stop the Steal” rally to go to the Capitol, Rodriguez said he followed the order.
“We thought we were being used as a part of a plan to save the country, to save America, save the Constitution, and the election, the integrity,” Rodriguez said. “We thought that we were going to save America, and we were wrong.”
FBI agents eventually asked Rodriguez about his assault on Fanone.
“If I could go back… I wouldn’t do it again,” Rodriguez said. “But what I did, I can’t undo it… I’m embarrassed by it and I’m ashamed by it.”
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