A California man pleaded guilty Tuesday to attacking a police officer with a stun gun during the January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol.
In July 2021, DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone testified before House Select Committee that investigated January 6 that he had been “grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country.”
40-year-old Daniel Rodriguez of Fontana, California has admitted to taking part in the assault on Fanone. That assault on January 6 caused Fanone to have a heart attack, and the attackers only stopped when he said he had children.
Rodriguez was arrested in March 2021. He confessed during an interview with FBI agents that he drove a stun gun into Fanone’s neck, believing that that he was doing the “right thing” on January 6, that he had been prepared to die to “save the country.”
Rodriguez had cried when he spoke to the FBI agents, saying he was “stupid” and ashamed by his actions.
Authorities say Rodriguez was among a Telegram chat group called “PATRIOTS 45 MAGA Gang” in the run-up to January 6 that had advocated violence amid what they believed to have been a stolen election.
Rodriguez’s guilty plea comes roughly two weeks before jury selection was to begin in his trial in federal court in DC. He pleaded guilty to four felony charges including conspiracy and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon.
His attorneys tried to block prosecutors from using his FBI interview at trial, asserting that the agents had used “psychologically coercive tactics” to get him to talk, but the attorneys were unsuccessful.
Altogether, a total of nearly 1,000 people have been criminally charged so far for their actions related to January 6, of which just 14 have been charged with sedition.
More than 500 of those charged in relation to January 6 have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors. Another roughly 400 have been sentenced, over half of whom have received prison time ranging anywhere from seven days to 10 years.
Two others who have already been charged for their role in the January 6 assault on Officer Fanone have each received roughly seven years in prison.
Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced in May.