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A Capitol rioter called his ex a 'moron' via text during the insurrection. She turned him in.

He is also said to have sent her text messages, photos, and videos that documented his time at the Capitol.

A Capitol rioter called his ex a 'moron' via text during the insurrection. She turned him in.
Cover Image Source: US Department of Justice

A Pennsylvania man named Richard Moretti allegedly took several breaks from "storming" the US Capitol on January 6 to argue with his ex-girlfriend about the 2020 presidential election. According to court documents unsealed this week, he sent her text messages, photos, and videos that documented his time at the Capitol and parroted Donald Trump's false claims of election fraud. "If you can't see the election was stolen you're a moron," Michetti wrote in a text to his former love interest. The next day, the woman got in touch with the FBI and handed over everything he sent her on the day of the riot.

 



 

 

According to Washington Post, Michetti — who lives in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania — has now been charged with knowingly entering a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and obstruction of Congress. His charging papers describe in detail how his ex-girlfriend, who is not named in a 10-page statement of facts, gave the FBI everything they needed to build the case against him. In addition to the texts, photos, and videos he sent her from the Capitol — which created a timeline of his alleged involvement in the insurrection from start to finish — she also gave law enforcement his birthdate, address, phone number, and other information about his phone.

 



 

 

After contacting the police on January 7, the day after the riot, she gave a full interview to the FBI on January 11 where she told agents that Michetti had gone to Washington because he "believed the election was stolen from President Trump." According to BuzzFeed News, the woman told officials that Michetti texted her on January 5 that he was getting on a train and that he would call once he arrived in Washington. The texts that she produced to the FBI show that he texted her around 2:06 p.m. on January 6 that "... it's going down here we stormed the building they held us back with spray and teargas and paintballs."

 



 

 

Three minutes later, Michetti sent a text confirming that he'd gone to the Capitol to "stop the vote" and told her that "it's fraud this is our country." The ex received two videos from him roughly a half-hour later, both of which appeared to show scenes of rioters inside the Capitol. Around 4:30 pm — after Trump finally called for rioters to "go home" hours into the insurrection — he called her a "moron" for not believing Trump's false claims about voter fraud. While the charging papers don't say if the woman responded to his messages, text messages sent by Michetti at 6:04 pm suggest she had engaged with something he said.

 



 

 

"I understand your point but what I'm saying is [W1's name] the election was rigged and everyone knows it. All's we wanted was an investigation that's it," he wrote, followed by more false claims about widespread fraud. Federal agents showed Michetti's ex a photo of a crowd of people standing outside the Capitol during the riot and she identified him as a man wearing a Chicago White Sox hat, dark hoodie, and surgical mask pulled down below his chin while looking at what appears to be a phone. FBI agents then identified him in surveillance camera footage from inside the Capitol by matching the clothing he was wearing outside and also obtained a receipt from a hotel one block away from the Capitol that showed he had checked out on the day of the insurrection.

 



 

 

Michetti was released this week on unsecured bail with electronic monitoring and his next court appearance by video is scheduled for Monday in federal court in Washington. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. It's unlikely that he'll send any more texts to his ex in the meantime as one of the conditions of his release is that he can't contact "potential witnesses" while his case is pending.

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