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Capitol rioter who texted 'selfie' to federal agent pleads guilty

Thomas Fee, of Freeport, New York, faces up to 6 months in prison after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count.

WASHINGTON — A retired New York firefighter who sent a “selfie” to a federal agent from inside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6 pleaded guilty this week to a misdemeanor parading charge.

Thomas Fee, of Freeport, New York, appeared before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates on Tuesday to enter his plea to a Class “B” misdemeanor – just days after the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot. He faces up to 6 months in prison at sentencing, although other riot defendants have received sentences ranging from probation to 45 days in jail for the same charge.

Fee was among the first defendants arrested in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol. In charging documents following his arrest on January 19, 2021, prosecutors said Fee was identified after texting a picture and video of himself inside the Capitol to his girlfriend’s brother, who happened to be a special agent with the U.S. Diplomatic Service.  

The agent reportedly saw a post from his sister on Facebook that her boyfriend, Fee, was in D.C. “at the rally” on Jan. 6. The agent subsequently texted Fee, who confirmed his presence and sent him a “selfie” of him in the Capitol Rotunda, along with a video and a text saying he was “at the tip of the spear.”

The agent then passed those messages along to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

More than 170 defendants have pleaded guilty to offenses connected to the Capitol riot ranging from petty misdemeanors to assaulting police with dangerous weapons. To date, the largest sentenced handed down has gone to Robert Scott Palmer, of Florida, who received 63 months in prison for attacking police with a wooden plank and fire extinguisher.

Fee was scheduled to return to court on April 1 for sentencing.

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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