[WATCH] Alleged Capitol Rioter Tries the ‘Tourist Defense’
“I was just chillin’.”
That’s what alleged January 6th Capitol rioter and self-described “tourist” Benjamin LaRocca said in his preliminary hearing on Monday. LaRocca admitted to entering the Capitol “like a regular tourist” while chanting “Our House! Our House!” as the crowd breached the barriers and overcame the police guarding Congress.
The Houston resident traveled to the rally with his former classmate and friend Christian Cortez, who also appeared in federal court on Monday. Court documents said that two witnesses that went to the school with Cortez and LaRocca helped identify them. The witnesses provided a YouTube video and Instagram video to help identify them.
LaRocca was charged with Obstruction of an Official Proceeding; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds; Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building. Cortez faces additional charges including assaulting a federal officer and civil disorder.
Initial appearance also scheduled for Benjamin LaRocca of Texas. 1pm virtual hearing in DC federal court
Feds say LaRocca is man on left in the photos below and rented a car in Texas to drive to DC on Jan 6
LaRocca allegedly told officers he was just "chilling" in Capitol pic.twitter.com/0bvDjRwxgQ
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) April 23, 2021
Cortez and LaRocca were both interviewed by FBI agents and admitted they drove a car from Texas to Virginia where they stayed at a hotel. Documents said that on January 6th, they drove two hours to Washington D.C. for the Trump rally. They also say LaRocca uploaded video of the march to his Instagram account.
Benjamin Larocca and Christian Cortez – Instagram Insurrectionist https://t.co/xh0zbu8oWo
— Winnie_McQ (@Winnie_McQ) March 31, 2021
Documents show LaRocca admitted to FBI agents that they followed a crowd into the Capitol and that he was “chilling” inside the capitol and shouting “our house”.
MSNBC covered the story as part of their continuing coverage of the January 6th insurrection. Watch the segment, below.