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'Very creepy video' leads FBI to Illinois man in Capitol riot case

Investigators say Athanasios Zoyganeles can be seen smoking near the Parliamentarian Door inside the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

WASHINGTON — An Illinois man who bragged he “rushed the Capitol” on Jan. 6 was taken into federal custody this week – one of more than 740 defendants now arrested in connection with the 2021 assault in D.C.

Athanasios Zoyganeles, formerly of Chicago, was charged this week with four misdemeanor counts for allegedly joining the mob of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol Building.

In charging documents, prosecutors say a tipster alerted them to posts on Zoyganeles’ Facebook page, including a “very creepy video of him in the Capitol saying, ‘Nazis, where are you??’” The tipster said the video shows Zoyganeles appearing to go through congressional offices and saying “let’s clean up” as he and other members of the mob rifled through books and files.

Investigators subsequently found more posts on Zoyganeles’ Facebook page appearing to show him at the Capitol, along with Facebook messages discussing his plans to travel to D.C.

On the day of the riot, investigators say Zoyganeles responded to a question about whether he was OK by writing, “No, I rushed the capital [sic] and lost everyone I was with.” He also said he had been teargassed and Maced.

Credit: Department of Justice
Athanasios Zoyganeles, of Chigao, was arrested on multiple charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

According to the DOJ, other publicly available videos from inside the Capitol show Zoyganeles standing outside of the Parliamentarian Doors holding a piece of wood while smoking on Jan. 6.

In October, FBI agents met with a close family member of Zoyganeles who identified him in several photographs from the riot. A magistrate judge in D.C. signed a warrant for his arrest last week.

Since the riot, Zoyganeles has moved to Florida and has continued to claim “antifa” was behind the attack and has shared misinformation about Trump’s election fraud claims and COVID-19 vaccines, according to publicly available posts on his Facebook page. Posts from Jan. 6 remain up as well, including one where Zoyganeles wrote, “True story I was there,” and a second saying, “The second Ammendment [sic] gives us the right to fight against a tyrannical government fact.” As of Tuesday afternoon, the bio on his Facebook page read, “Biden is not my President. It is a coup by our own government. #TheTruth!!!!!”

It was not immediately clear whether Zoyganeles had yet made an initial appearance before a federal judge.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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