Punta Gorda man accused of involvement in Capitol riot, Oath Keepers affiliation

Another man in Southwest Florida has been arrested in connection with the Jan 6. U.S. Capitol riot.

According to a criminal complaint made by an FBI task force member on July 2, David Moerschel, 43, of Punta Gorda, was arrested for activity he’s accused of with the Oath Keepers group during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

MORE: Criminal complaint made by FBI JTTF member against David Moerschel

“As described more fully herein, Moerschel conspired with others known and unknown to forcibly enter the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and to obstruct the Congressional proceeding occurring that day,” the complaint states.

Credit: U.S. Department of Justice via WINK News.

The FBI shared a picture showing an individual, who the bureau identifies as Moerschel, wheeling a cart with at least one long gun case onto an elevator at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The FBI also says it secured encrypted messages, an account linked to Moerschel attending 17 Oath Keeper-affiliated meetings.

“Based on all the meetings they were on online, the people they were talking to and these communications online in person, they’re going to be critical evidence in the case,” Kolko said. “When the prosecutor presents said evidence to the defendant and his attorney, it’s going to make it pretty hard for him to say … he’s not guilty.”

Another image identifies Moerschel inside the Capitol next to Graydon Young, a man from Englewood who pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the FBI. Kolko believes this played a part in Moerschel’s arrest.

According to the U.S. court document, “Surveillance video from inside the Capitol on January 6, 2021, also shows a person, consistent with David Moerschel’s appearance, along with other members of the Oath Keepers. Credit: U.S. Department of Justice via WINK News.

We spoke to Moerschel’s attorney Monday, and he told us in a statement that they look forward to proving Moerschel’s innocence.

Moerschel faces charges for conspiracy, obstruction of justice/congress, and unlawful entry into restricted buildings or grounds.

U.S. State Attorney’s Office press release

According to court documents, Moerschel and others planned and participated in an operation to interfere with the certification of the electoral college vote on Jan. 6, and coordinated with others in advance, using websites and social media to recruit other participants before traveling to Washington. As alleged, Moerschel joined and participated in an invitation-only encrypted Signal message group titled “OK FL DC OP Jan 6.” Moerschel also attended GoToMeetings with individuals affiliated with the Oath Keepers, with session names such as “ok florida,” “florida dc op planning chat” and “dc planning call.”

On Jan. 6, Moerschel was captured on surveillance footage with other Oath Keepers, including charged defendant Kelly Meggs, walking towards the eastern façade of the Capitol at 2:27 p.m. Moerschel joined in a military-stack formation of individuals moving up through the crowd toward the east doors of the Capitol. Moerschel and others from the stack were captured on surveillance video inside the Capitol shortly after the Capitol’s east Rotunda doors were breached around 2:40 p.m.

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. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington and Tampa Field Offices.

In the six months since Jan. 6, more than 535 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 165 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.

Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

MORE: Oath Keepers member arrested on conspiracy charges related to Jan. 6 Capitol breach

Reporter:Zach Oliveri
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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