A Kitsap County man has been charged with disorderly conduct and breaching the U.S. Capitol with a pro-Trump mob during last year’s insurrection that tried to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results.
John M. Cameron, 55, of Port Orchard, was charged by complaint under seal filed in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on Dec. 10. Cameron, who turned himself in to federal authorities Wednesday, made an initial appearance on the charges in federal court in Tacoma. He was released on bond and has yet to enter a plea.
Cameron is the 12th Washington state resident to be charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
According to charging papers unsealed early Thursday — the anniversary of the Capitol breach — Cameron faces four criminal counts, including 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.
If convicted of all charges, he faces three years in prison and fines, according to sentencing information provided by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C.
In a phone call Thursday, Cameron’s attorney, Angus Lee of Vancouver, described his client as a husband and father with no criminal history, and said Cameron is “not accused of any form of violence or destruction of property.”
“I think it’s important for people to understand that,” Lee said. “He’s essentially being prosecuted for the crime of picketing or protesting in the wrong location.”
Cameron plans to formally enter a plea of not guilty on all counts at his next hearing on Jan. 18, Lee said.
A federal agent’s probable cause affidavit, unsealed with the records Thursday, alleges Cameron was captured on video recorded inside the Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, when the mob forced its way into the building. The footage showed “a middle-aged man wearing a red baseball cap with white ❛Make America Great Again❜ lettering, (and) a black hooded sweatshirt covered by a white T-shirt bearing the words ❛COUNT ALL LEGAL VOTES. ❜”
Two days after the riot, a tipster contacted the FBI, telling them Cameron had been at the so-called “Stop the Steal” protest rally before the attack on the Capitol. The tipster also provided agents with a link to Cameron’s Facebook page, which included several posts, photos and videos of Cameron — dressed in the same attire as the middle-aged man captured on the closed-circuit video from the Capitol — before, during and after the attack, the affidavit says.
“One such video included the caption, ❛Civil disobedience, ❜ in which rioters can be seen breaching the secured areas of the scaffolding surrounding the Capitol building,” the affidavit states. “In another video, the crowd surrounding Cameron can be heard chanting, ❛Let us in! Let us in! ❜”
Cameron added in the video that he “didn’t know who had broken the doors down at the Capitol building,” the affidavit states. “He also said it was a fun, exciting, interesting, and historic event.”
A federal agent later obtained a warrant for the data from Cameron’s mobile device, which “suggests that Cameron was on Capitol grounds and inside the Capitol building between 2:09 p.m. and 3:51 p.m.,” according to the agent’s sworn statement.
Cameron’s Facebook page, on which he describes himself as a “Father, Husband, Real Estate broker, Sports Fan,” remained active Thursday morning. It continued to publicly display multiple photos and videos depicting his trip to Washington, D.C., and participation in the “Stop the Steal” rally a year ago, including pictures and videos cited in charging documents.
The Capitol attack temporarily halted Congress’ certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election as president, as lawmakers fled and hid for their safety. More than 150 police officers were injured and at least nine people there, including four protesters and five police officers, died during or after the insurrection.
The dead included a woman shot by an officer during the insurrection; two protesters who died of natural causes; and another protester who apparently was crushed by the crowd after accidentally overdosing. One officer, who was attacked by the mob, died after suffering multiple strokes a day after the riot, and four officers who defended the Capitol have since died by suicide.