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New York man linked to theft of Pelosi's laptop during Jan. 6 pleads guilty

Justice Department prosecutors said Rafael Rondon, 25, of Watertown, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the Capitol building. Pool File Photo by Win McNamee/UPI
Justice Department prosecutors said Rafael Rondon, 25, of Watertown, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday to charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the Capitol building. Pool File Photo by Win McNamee/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A New York man accused of aiding in the theft of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's laptop during the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol building has pleaded guilty to participating in the insurrection.

Rafael Rondon, 25, of Watertown, N.Y., pleaded guilty Monday in Washington, D.C., to obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting in the obstruction of an official proceeding, the Justice Department said in a release.

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Rondon was arrested Oct. 1, 2021, after being charged in a criminal complaint along with his mother, Maryann Mooney-Rondon, on accusations of being among the crowd of then-President Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States.

Prosecutors said Rondon and his mother attended a rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6, before they marched on the Capitol and illegally entered the building through the Senate Wing Door at about 2:23 p.m.

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Court documents state that minutes after breaching the building, the pair entered Pelosi's office where they are accused of assisting an unidentified man in the theft of a laptop.

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Before exiting the building at 2:52 p.m., Rondon and his mother each stole a respiratory protective device called an escape hood that are kept in satchels in the Senate Gallery for Congress and staff, prosecutors said.

Rondon is scheduled to be sentenced March 13 when he faces a statutory maximum of 20 years' imprisonment and potential financial penalties.

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Mooney-Rondon is awaiting trial after pleading not guilty.

Rondon's guilty plea comes as nearly 900 people have been arrested nationwide for crimes related to the Capitol breach, including Riley Williams, 23, who was convicted last month by a jury on felony charges stemming from the siege.

Prosecutors had said she encouraged others in Pelosi's office to steal the California Democrat's laptop, and that a former romantic partner of hers had told the FBI that she intended to sell the device to Russia's foreign intelligence service.

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