Advertisement

Local Capitol riot suspect pleads guilty

Jan. 4—A Meadville-area man has admitted in federal court in Washington to assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Mikhail Edward Slye, 32, pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge James E. Boasberg to a felony charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers.

Slye faces up to eight years in federal prison when he is sentenced by Boasberg on April 4.

According to court documents, Slye used a bike rack barricade on Jan. 6, 2021, to intentionally trip an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police.

The officer and his team were attempting to rescue two officers caught in the crowd on the North Side of the Capitol, according to the criminal complaint the FBI filed against Slye. As a result of being tripped, the officer fell down the stairs and suffered injuries to his hand, wrist and lower body, according to the complaint.

Court documents state Slye illegally entered the Capitol twice — once, at 2:56 p.m., remaining for three minutes, and again at 3:05 p.m., exiting at 3:35 p.m. While in the Capitol, Slye moved throughout the Capitol's Crypt area and other locations, according to court documents.

Syle was arrested by the FBI in late September 2022.

The FBI filed multiple counts against Slye in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 29, 2022. He then was arrested in Meadville on Sept. 30, 2022.

The FBI's complaint against Slye includes 17 screenshots and digital images from videos livestreamed on Jan. 6, 2021, and posted to the internet afterward.

The complaint also references specifically to seditionhunters.org, a website that describes itself as "a global community of open-source intelligence investigators (OSINT) working together to assist the U.S. FBI and Washington D.C. Capitol Police in finding people who allegedly committed crimes in the January 6 capitol riots."

A seditionhunters.org social media post from June 18, 2021, included several screenshots of the man believed to have thrown the barricade that caused the officer to fall.

"They dubbed the unknown subject 'JackTheTripper,'" the FBI's criminal complaint said. "As a result of the online post to social media platforms, the unknown subject was ultimately identified as Slye."

The FBI charged Slye with a felony county of assaulting a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder.

Hee also was charged by the FBI with six misdemeanor counts for entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a restricted building or grounds; physical violence in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

By pleading guilty to the felony charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers, all other charges in the case won't be prosecuted as part of a plea deal with the U.S. attorney for District of Columbia.

Slye initially pleaded not guilty to all charges at a federal court hearing on Oct. 20, 2022. At an Oct. 28, 2022, case status conference, he had his defense team request the court for a January 2023 trial date for his case.

However, at that status conference, attorneys for both sides told Boasberg they still were going through discovery related to Slye's case. Discovery is the formal process of exchanging information about witnesses and evidence to be presented at trial.

At that status conference, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kaitlin Klamann said two electronic devices of Slye's confiscated by the FBI at the end of September still needed reviewed for evidence and any findings passed onto the defense. Klamann also said discussions about a possible plea deal would be held once discovery was completed.

Slye remains free on personal recognizance bail while awaiting sentencing.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division's Counterterrorism Section with assistance from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The investigation has been conducted by the FBI's Pittsburgh Field Office and its Erie Resident Agency, and the FBI's Washington Field Office with assistance from the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department.

Slye is one of two Crawford County residents charged in connection with the riot.

Jeremy Vorous, 45, of Venango was indicted in March 2021 for his alleged actions at the Capitol. Vorous is accused of a felony count of obstructing an official proceeding; two misdemeanor counts of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; and two misdemeanor counts of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

A status conference for his case is scheduled Jan. 25 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.