WASHINGTON — On Friday night, a Fox News guest representing several Jan. 6 defendants sent a series of tweets suggesting that one of the people who sprayed bear spray at officers at the Washington Capitol USA was an undercover officer.
In fact, he was a Trump supporter who had already been arrested and charged. On Monday morning, he pleaded guilty.
Edward Rodriguez, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty to one felony charge of assaulting, resisting, or hindering certain officers, inflicting bodily injury. Online detectives, who identified Rodriguez in early 2021, nicknamed him «Suit Macer» because he wore a suit and «squashed» a line of officers.
In a nearly empty courtroom a few blocks from the Capitol, Assistant US Attorney Will Widman laid out the facts the government said it could prove in court: that Rodriguez took the train to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and joined a charter bus. who arrived hours before the president. Donald Trump’s speech on January 6, 2021, in the middle of the night. He could prove, Widman said, that while on the restricted grounds of the US Capitol at the time, he had to be assisted by a supervisor due to severe and overwhelming pain.
Rodríguez did at least two media interviews on January 6, wearing the same outfit he wore when he assaulted seven police officers under a mob attack, the government said.
“Here in the United States, we defend ourselves. We will never surrender to dictatorship, corruption, communism or socialism. The people will never put up with their bulls—,” Rodríguez said in one of the interviews, according to the government.
The government also pointed to a query Rodriguez made on Google after the attack: «What does bear spraying do to humans?»
Rodríguez, who was jumping on the podium in a bright blue suit, almost backed out of his plea agreement after the judge read the consequences of a felony guilty plea. He pointed out that he was first hit with pepper spray. He admitted that he harmed the officers, but was quick to point out that it happened «right after I was sprayed, of course.» He said that he found the bear spray on the ground.
US District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Trump appointee in 2017, finally accepted the plea after Rodriguez took a break to speak with his attorney. Friedrich set the sentence for July 18.
Walking out of the courthouse, Rodríguez was a little more camera-shy than on January 6, using his gloved hand to try to obstruct the view of his face when he saw a reporter taking photos of his departure. He got into an Uber with his lawyer.
Online, however, some people now think Suit Macer is a fed. Joseph McBride, a New York lawyer representing several Jan. 6 defendants, tweeted Friday about a Washington police document, apparently released as discovery, which noted that undercover officers were supposed to wear bracelets with the colors of the rainbow on January 6. He then posted an image of a man pepper-spraying officers while wearing a wrist brace.
«Probably just a coincidence…» McBride wrote.
Users of pro-Trump social media ate it up, thinking an undercover officer had pepper-sprayed their peers. «Wow! Caught red-handed!» wrote a Twitter user. “If this photograph and document are genuine, then this is evidence that a police officer sprayed something toxic on another police officer,” another wrote. «This would be the ‘smoking gun’ metaphorical evidence of the Fedsurrection.» Another user agreed: it was a «smoking gun» that featured «bracelets identifying J6 government instigators.»
Some basic details did not match: The wristband was on the assailant’s right hand, not the left, as described in the Washington police document. It didn’t have the colors of the rainbow either; it appeared to be red, white and blue. Most importantly, the owner of that doll had already been identified, arrested, and charged: Video of those sprayed officers shows that the doll was Rodriguez’s. He was scheduled to plead guilty within 72 hours of McBride’s tweet.
McBride, who recently appeared on Fox News to discuss the January 6 out-of-context videos played by Tucker Carlson, declined to say whether, at the time of his tweet, the person with the bracelet had already been identified and would be entering anytime soon. . a guilty plea.
«I’m not going to comment on that,» McBride told NBC News on Tuesday. «Look, you know, we have a job to do. There’s an information war going on.»
McBride said he would not intentionally lie to the public. «I would never knowingly release false information to the public, that’s not what I do. And that’s the truth,» she said Tuesday.
Some 1,000 members of the pro-Trump mob have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack.