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Former member of WA National Guard indicted in attack on U.S. Capitol

Supporters of President Donald Trump protest on Capitol Hill. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)

A former member of the Washington National Guard is facing federal charges after prosecutors say he broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and repeatedly punched a federal officer.

Mark Jefferson Leffingwell, 51, of Seattle, was arrested inside the Capitol during a deadly riot.

On Monday, Leffingwell was indicted on seven federal charges including assaulting a federal officer, entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct, violent entry, act of violence in a Capitol building and felony civil disorder, for which he could face up to five years in prison.

Leffingwell served in the Washington National Guard from 2005 to 2009, according to guard spokesman. He deployed with the 81st Brigade to Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2009.

A spokesman for the guard told The News Tribune guard leaders are not concerned about other current or former members of the guard having been involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Leffingwell was released but is required to call into pretrial services on a weekly basis pending his trial, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington.

According to a statement of facts filed in federal court last week, Capitol Police officer Daniel Amendola said he was in the Senate wing of the Capitol building, attempting to form a barrier with other officers when Leffingwell attempted to push past them.

When officers stopped him from moving into the building, Leffingwell allegedly punched the officer repeatedly with a closed fist.

“I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest,” Amendola wrote. He and other officers detained Leffingwell and transported him to Capitol Police headquarters.

“While in custody, but prior to being advised of his Miranda rights, Leffingwell spontaneously apologized for striking me,” Amendola wrote.

According to reports from McClatchy, the military is expanding its investigation into service members who took part in the violence inside the U.S. Capitol, and lawmakers are pressuring the Department of Defense to re-screen thousands of military personnel assigned to support the presidential inauguration.

On Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a rare statement condemning the violence at the Capitol. Military leaders usually avoid comment on anything remotely related to politics.

The memo, signed by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley and all members of the Joint Staff, called the riot at the Capitol an act of “sedition.”

“We witnessed actions inside the Capitol that were inconsistent with the rule of law. The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection,” Milley and all of the other service chiefs wrote.

The “violent riot,” the Joint Chiefs statement said, “was a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building and our Constitutional process.”

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(c) 2021 The News Tribune

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