Roberto Minuta
Oath Keeper joined Capitol mob after appearing with Trump ally Roger Stone
03:03 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

An Oath Keeper who appeared to be providing security for political operative Roger Stone on January 6 later joined an angry mob outside the Capitol, according to video and images reviewed by CNN and four sources who confirmed his identity.

Hours after being seen with Stone outside a Washington hotel, Roberto Minuta was photographed on steps at the eastern side of the Capitol wearing goggles and other equipment. Video shows Minuta pointing and yelling at police next to other individuals wearing logos associated with the Oath Keepers, an anti-government, far-right militant group.

Two videos show a man wearing goggles and clothing identical to that of Minuta inside the Capitol during the riots.

Roberto Minuta and others flank political operative Roger Stone on the morning of January 6th.

Someone who answered the phone at Minuta’s tattoo shop declined to comment to CNN and hung up. Minuta’s wife told ABC News that Minuta had not entered the Capitol, but she confirmed he was “another patriot” outside the building “standing up for freedom.” Minuta has not been charged with a crime.

Before the Capitol incident, Minuta flanked Stone outside a hotel, as shown in a video first reported by ABC News. He and other men appeared to be serving as bodyguards as Stone greeted his supporters and took pictures with them.

Minuta had also walked alongside former national security adviser Michael Flynn at a rally in Washington on December 12 and was interviewed by Alex Jones for his InfoWars program in a video posted on January 19, 2020, before a gun-rights rally in Virginia.

Minuta has previously received support from the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes.

Last May, when Minuta decided to reopen the tattoo parlor he runs in Newburgh, New York, in defiance of the governor’s Covid-19-related order to close nonessential businesses, Rhodes called on all Oath Keepers members within driving distance to attend a rally at Minuta’s shop.

“Anytime a patriot stands up in defense of liberty, we need to be standing right there with him, shoulder-to-shoulder,” Rhodes said in a statement about the planned rally posted on the Oath Keepers website.

Stone did not respond to CNN’s request for comment about Minuta but has said on Telegram that he had nothing to do with the Capitol riot because he wasn’t there and knew nothing about it in advance. Sidney Powell, an attorney for Flynn, whose appearance close to Minuta in Washington was previously reported by the Daily Beast, said Flynn does not know Minuta and “could not pick him out of a lineup.”

The Oath Keepers, who generally believe that former military and police can defend the Constitution as a self-styled militia against parts of the government that they view as corrupt, have come under scrutiny for activity related to the Capitol incident.

A statement posted on the group’s website on January 4 said, “All Patriots who can get to DC need to be in DC. Now is the time to stand.” The post said members would provide security for speakers and attendees at events on January 5 and 6.

Roberto Minuta protests outside the US Capitol on January 6th.

The Justice Department has indicted three individuals in connection with the Capitol riot who are allegedly affiliated with the Oath Keepers. One of them, Thomas Caldwell of Virginia, said in a court filing Monday that he previously worked for the FBI and has held a “Top Secret”-level security clearance for decades.

Prosecutors have called Caldwell an apparent leader of the Oath Keepers but Oath Keepers leader Rhodes previously denied that to CNN. Caldwell’s defense attorney denied in a court filing that Caldwell is an Oath Keeper and argued that prosecutors have no proof he was inside the Capitol on January 6.

Rhodes did not respond to CNN’s questions about Minuta.

“It’s deeply troubling that a group which already has some conspiracy indictments for what happened at the Capitol was also pulling security for Roger Stone just that morning,” said John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab who has worked with others to identify individuals who participated in the Capitol riots.

Roberto Minuta, on right with goggles,  joins demonstrators on the steps of the eastern side of the US Capitol.

Scott-Railton said he believes there’s more to learn about the scope of Oath Keepers members’ activity surrounding the Capitol incidents.

The videos of Minuta were first analyzed by volunteers including Scott-Railton and a research group called the Capitol Terrorists Exposers.

On a podcast in May, Minuta explained his decision to reopen his tattoo shop despite the governor’s order to remain closed.

“I’ve been watching the erosion of our rights on so many different levels that at what point do you draw that line in the sand, you know?” he said.

CNN’s Ben Naughton contributed to this report.