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FBI says former government employee falsely implicated co-workers in Jan. 6 attack

Former government employee Miguel Zapata has been charged with one count of providing false statements to law enforcement for wrongfully accusing seven co-workers of participating in the pro-Trump Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
Former government employee Miguel Zapata has been charged with one count of providing false statements to law enforcement for wrongfully accusing seven co-workers of participating in the pro-Trump Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

May 3 (UPI) -- In newly unsealed court documents, federal prosecutors have accused a former government employee with federal intelligence ties of making unlawful false statements to the FBI wrongly implicating co-workers in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol mob attack.

According to a federal affidavit, Miguel Zapata "made false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation via its tip line" about seven government employees and contractors alleging they were involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

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Zapata faces one count of providing materially false statements to law enforcement.

He hasn't yet been arraigned on the charge but made an initial court appearance Thursday. He was released on personal recognizance.

The affidavit alleges Zapata violated federal code 18 U.S.C. § 1001. The maximum penalty if convicted is a maximum of a $10,000 fine or not more than 5 years in prison or both.

Investigators said Zapata used "burner" emails to send anonymous false tips to the FBI tip line about his co-workers that led to the FBI investigating and interviewing several of them.

According to the affidavit none of those people were in Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2021. Their identities were not revealed in the court filing.

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"On February 10, February 16, February 17, and April 11, 2021, the FBI received at least seven anonymous tips via the tips.fbi.gov portal alleging that seven identified government employees and contractors were involved in unlawful activities at the Capitol on January 6, 2021," the court affidavit said.

It added, "Because of similarities in the wording of the tips, the grouping of the dates the tips were submitted, and the technical tradecraft used to submit them, these tips appeared to be submitted by the same individual."

In his allegations, FBI officials said, Zapata told the FBI that one of his victims "was actively engaged in attempting to overthrow the government of the United States. [He/she] actively took part in the riot and insurrection on January 6 2021, that lead to the deaths of 6 people."

Similar claims were made about the other victims, FBI officials said, with Zapata claiming one of his victims "attended the US Capitol riot and insurrection and was present when storming the Capitol."

Regarding another person allegedly cited, Zapata falsely reported to the FBI that "in addition to attending the riot and insurrection at the US Captiol,[sic] [he/she] espouses extremist ideology in the work place and has bragged about [his/her] association with the Boogaloo Bois, ProudBoys and Oath Keepers. While serving as a contractor at [an intelligence agency], [he/she] has accessed classified Agency resources to foment terror and incite violence by sharing this information with other conspiracy theory based personalities."

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