Montana man who brought juvenile son to Capitol riot charged

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man who authorities say entered the U.S. Capitol with his juvenile son during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot was charged with misdemeanor crimes including disorderly conduct, according to court documents released Friday.

Patrick William O’Brien was arraigned Thursday by videoconference following his arrest last week in Great Falls, according to court records and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The 54-year-old man and his son, whose age was not specified, drove 39 hours over three days from Montana to Washington prior to the riot, according to court documents. Video footage, including from surveillance cameras, showed the pair entered the west side of the Capitol and were inside for 28 minutes, where they walked and ran through hallways and waved a flag, according to court records.

O’Brien and his son stopped at one point at a security desk near two large doors that said “United States Senate,” the records show. The son was seen reaching under the desk, taking a red computer mouse pad, rolling it up and placing it in his pant pocket, according to a statement from an FBI agent whose name was redacted in court documents. A photograph of the son taking the mouse pad was included with the agent’s statement.

It was not immediately clear who represented O’Brien in court. A message left with the Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia was not immediately returned.

An FBI informant reported in October 2021 that O’Brien and his son had been inside the Capitol, according to the FBI agent’s statement. The informant was motivated by a “sense of outrage regarding the attacks on law enforcement” during the riot and compensated for his or her time, the statement said.

O’Brien was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, the Department of Justice said.

He is among more than 950 people arrested in connection with the riot in which former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol while Congress was certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

O’Brien owns a shop that sells hockey gear in Great Falls and runs a food stand, Bourbon Chicken Skewers, that appears regularly at events across the state, according to public records and news reports. Eight months after the riot, O’Brien and his food stand were featured in a local television news story in Billings about the MontanaFair.

Court records show O’Brien and his wife filed for voluntary bankruptcy protection in 2011 and were discharged from bankruptcy three years later after making required debt payments.

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