A Cleburne County man is accused in a federal complaint of being part of the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, to disrupt the congressional acceptance of electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Robert Snow, 78, of Heber Springs appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerome Kearney on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Little Rock after an arrest warrant was issued by the Washington, D.C., federal court.
According to the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock, Snow surrendered to federal authorities in Little Rock on Tuesday, the day after the district court received a federal complaint and arrest warrant from the D.C. court.
Snow is the fourth Arkansan to be charged by federal authorities in the Capitol riot. Richard Barnett of Gravette in Benton County, Peter Francis Stager of Conway and Jon Thomas Mott of Flippin in Marion County also have been charged by federal authorities.
Snow is charged in the complaint with four misdemeanor offenses: 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; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Each of the first two charges carries a maximum penalty of an unspecified fine or up to one year in prison, if convicted. Convictions for disorderly conduct and demonstrating in a Capitol building carry a maximum penalty of an unspecified fine and up to six months in prison.
After appointing William Shelton Jr. of the Federal Public Defenders Office in Little Rock to represent Snow, Kearney ordered Snow released under court supervision and directed him to report to the federal court in Washington, D.C., when ordered for subsequent legal proceedings.
Under federal rules, defendants charged in one district who live in another may elect to have the initial court proceedings held in either district.
A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office in Little Rock confirmed that Snow surrendered to the U.S. Marshals Service in Little Rock on Tuesday morning and appeared before Kearney later that day.
According to the complaint, filed Dec. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, on Jan. 6, 2021, as a joint session of Congress was underway to certify the electoral vote in the 2020 presidential election, records for Snow's cellphone indicated that he was inside the U.S. Capitol during the time when a large group of protesters entered the building and attempted to stop the vote certification in an apparent attempt to prevent then President-elect Joe Biden from being declared the winner over former President Donald Trump.
Before the incursion of the Capitol building, Trump spoke at a rally on the White House grounds claiming that the election had been stolen and urging his supporters to "fight like hell" only a few hours before the Capitol was overrun.
Four Trump supporters died, and a Capitol police officer injured during the riot died the next day. Certification of the electoral vote was suspended after the House and Senate chambers were evacuated and did not resume until after 8 p.m. that day.
The complaint said GPS and Wi-Fi data showed that a device associated with Snow's cellphone number was tracked at various locations throughout the building between 2:15 p.m. and 4:34 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Jan. 6, 2021. In addition, the complaint said, closed circuit video footage showed a person believed to be Snow being tracked on multiple cameras throughout the building.
At 2:15 p.m., the complaint said, a person believed to be Snow was seen entering the building through the Senate Wing door talking on a cellphone and was seen nine minutes later waving people into the building and patting people on the back as they entered. Just before 3 p.m., the same person was seen leaving the building through the East Rotunda door after having been stopped by a Capitol police officer in the rotunda and ordered to leave the building.
The complaint said Snow was interviewed Feb. 1 by the FBI and admitted to being present in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 and to entering the Capitol building that afternoon. In a subsequent interview Nov. 1, Snow again told FBI agents that he was in the building on Jan. 6 and identified himself in two closed-circuit video screenshots taken that day, the complaint says.
The complaint said Snow told agents that he was ordered to the floor of the rotunda by Capitol police, searched and then directed to the nearest exit. He told agents that he then left the building as ordered but later reentered and exited after urinating on a column inside an area that he thought was a cafeteria.