Aaron Mostofsky, 34, was arrested after identifying himself in an on-camera interview during the raid of the Capitol.
The son of a Brooklyn judge has been arrested for taking part in last week’s deadly coup attempt at the Capitol, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Aaron Mostofsky, 34, was arraigned in a virtual Brooklyn federal court appearance Tuesday afternoon, where he was hit with multiple charges, including theft of government property, a felony. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Following the riot on Wednesday, law enforcement allowed Mostofsky to simply walk out of the Capitol and return home to New York. The FBI took him into custody from his home in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood on Tuesday.
He was released Tuesday on $100,000 bail. According to the conditions of his bail agreement, Mostofsky is forbidden from leaving New York City without approval, visiting state capitols, attending political gatherings, and speaking with co-defendants or co-conspirators. He will also be required to wear a GPS ankle monitor.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Schwartz, said the 34-year-old man “got caught up in” the chaotic moment.
“I believe the evidence will show he was not part of the mob, that he was not rampaging,” Schwartz said. “He got caught up in it, but he understands…how the whole thing in Washington got totally out of hand.”
The man’s father is Steven “Shlomo” Mostofsky, Gothamist reported, a Kings County Supreme Court judge and prominent figure in Brooklyn’s modern Orthodox Jewish community. (Requests for comment to the judge were not immediately returned.)
Aaron Mostofsky did not take great pains to hide his identity during the violent riot in the halls of Congress, according to a criminal complaint provided to BuzzFeed News.
He was arrested thanks to an on-camera interview he gave to the New York Post from inside the Capitol, where he identified himself as Aaron from Brooklyn, and was seen wearing a bulletproof vest and riot shield with US Capitol Police insignia, which he claimed to have found on the floor.
Wearing the vest prominently labeled “POLICE” and a bizarre fur pelt, he told the Post he stormed the Capitol because he believed President Donald Trump’s lies that the election was rigged against him.
“We were cheated. I don’t think 75 million people voted for Trump — I think it was close to 85 million,” Mostofsky said in the interview. “I think certain states that have been red for a long time turned blue and were stolen, like New York.”
He also appeared in several of the most widely circulated photos from the insurrection, including this one, where he can be seen behind “QAnon Shaman” Jake Angeli’s horned hat.
Mostofsky went even further to flaunt his crimes, posting videos of the attempted coup on his Instagram account, “@aaron_mostofsky_official.” (The account appears to have since been deleted or banned.)
During his release, Mostofsky will stay with his brother Neil “Nachman” Mostofsky. Neil is the vice president of the South Brooklyn Conservative Club and an elected district leader, who previously claimed to have connections “very high up in [the Trump] administration.”
Days before his brother’s federal court hearing, Neil defended Aaron in an interview with Gothamist, spewing absurd explanations for his actions.
“My brother did nothing illegal,” Neil said. “He definitely was not part of the riot.”
As explanation for why Aaron was, in fact, inside the Capitol during the riot, Neil said he was “pushed inside.”
Neil was also in DC the day of the attempted coup and said he had attended Trump’s rally but left prior to the storming of the Capitol.
“You’re full of shit. You’re a dishonest person. My brother went as a citizen of America,” Neil told Gothamist. “You find me one [Black Lives Matter] riot or one antifa riot from over the summer that didn’t have way more damage.”
In a statement Tuesday, William F. Sweeney, Jr., the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, confirmed the FBI had arrested Mostofsky and thanked the public for sending in tips that have helped to identify people who took part in the Capitol attack.
“For those in this area considering participating in future activity similar to Mr. Mostofsky’s alleged behavior, let me be clear,” Sweeney said. “The FBI will find you, arrest you, and do our part to ensure you face the full force of the federal criminal justice system.”