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2 men admit to pepper-spraying officers at U.S. Capitol riot

U.S. Capitol
Architect of the Capitol
USCapitol, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON (AP) Two New York men, with connections to the Rochester area, pleaded guilty Friday to discharging chemical spray at police officers inside the U.S. Capitol during the January 2021 insurrection.

Cody Mattice, 29, of Greece, and James Mault, 30, formerly of Brockport, who now lives in North Carolina, each admitted to breaking through police barriers and entering the building during a trip to Washington they had planned for several days and prepared for by acquiring batons and pepper spray.

Under plea agreements with federal prosecutors, each faces between 37 and 46 months in prison after pleading guilty to felony charges. Each also will pay $2,000 toward the cost of repairing the Capitol. Sentencing is scheduled for July 15.

Mattice and Mault, both from the Rochester area, were indicted in October after authorities said they appeared in photos and videos spraying a chemical agent toward police officers in a Capitol building hallway.

Mault was arrested in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he had been stationed with the U.S. Army. Mattice was arrested at his home in Hilton, New York.

The two appeared at a joint hearing Friday before U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, Mault in person and Mattice remotely. Both acknowledged exchanging text messages in the days prior to the insurrection, with Mault telling Mattice and others in a group to bring batons, knives, "ass-kicking boots" and protective clothing.

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Once at the Capitol, Mault tried to convince police officers to join the rioters, assuring them they would still have jobs "after we kick the (expletive) out of everyone," according to the plea agreement.

"What we're doing is right," he told the officers, "or there wouldn't be this many ... people here."

In exchange for their guilty pleas, prosecutors agreed to drop additional felony charges.

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