A Donald Trump fanatic who took part in the storming of the US Capitol and was subsequently arrested for having used a taser on a DC police officer, broke down during his FBI interview a transcript reveals.
Daniel “DJ” Rodriguez was taken into custody after being identified by HuffPost as the individual who electroshocked DC Metropolitan Police Officer Mike Fanone.
When being interviewed by FBI special agents, he repeatedly cried, worried that his “mom’s going to find out” what he did, and called himself “an a**hole”, “a f***ing piece of s***”, “so stupid”, and “not smart”.
According to a transcript of his interview filed in court by his defence attorney on Friday, the agents told Mr Rodriguez that in opening up to them and laying “everything on the table”, he could shape the narrative about his actions that day.
The agents said that to that point other actors were telling the story in the court of public opinion.
“Danny gets to choose if he writes a story today with us. But right now, the story that’s being told is by DC ― is by antifa, BLM, and The Huffington Post,” one agent said.
Mr Rodriguez told the agents that he was radicalised online by InfoWars and named conservative pundits and comedians Steven Crowder, Mark Dice, and the Hodgetwins as having convinced him that former President Donald Trump had actually won the election.
He said he was “stupid” for believing that the mob who attacked Congress on 6 January could put Mr Trump in power for a second term.
“Are we all that stupid that we thought we were going to go do this and save the country and it was all going to be fine after? We really thought that. That’s so stupid, huh?” he said.
In relation to the attack on Officer Fanone, the agents ask him to explain what happened.
“Okay. What do you want me to tell you? That I tased him? Yes,” he said. “ Am I f***ing piece of s***? Yes.”
Asked why he did it, Mr Rodriguez cried and responded: “I don’t know. I’m a piece of s***. I’m sorry. I don’t know. He’s a human being with children, and he’s not a bad guy. He sounds like he’s just doing his job and he’s — I’m an a**hole.”
The transcript was filed by Mr Rodriguez’s federal public defenders in relation to a motion to suppress the interview arguing that he did not receive adequate Miranda warnings.
“Agents capitalised on the unique media attention of this particular incident, conveying to Mr Rodriguez that his story had already been written, and that this was his only chance to help himself out of the situation,” the motion states.
In a separate motion, his attorneys said they would argue their client was acting “under public authority” at the direction of former President Trump.
HuffPost identified Mr Rodriguez in a story based on the work of a group of online sleuths called the Deep State Dogs and a group of anti-fascist activists who knew of him from pro-Trump protests in California.
Online sleuths have played a crucial role in identifying many of the rioters who stormed the Capitol. Known as “Sedition Hunters” they have been crucial in bringing hundreds of people to justice for their actions.
There have been approximately 650 cases brought against rioters to date, and there are potentially hundreds more offenders yet to be named.
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