FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Benjamin Martin, a Clovis real estate agent living in Madera will face charges for his part in the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol according to official government documents from the United States Department of Justice.
According to the government document, Martin entered and remained in a restricted building or grounds, engaged in disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, engaged in disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, paraded, demonstrated, or picketed in a Capitol building, obstructed law enforcement during civil disorder and obstructed or impeded an official proceeding.
According to a document from the United States Department of Justice, FBI agents received a tip that Benjamin Martin of Madera had been involved in the January 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol buildings. Documentation from the DOJ states that the tipster told investigators that he had seen Martin in a video from the incident. Additionally, the document says the tipster gave investigators information on martin, including his phone number and date of birth.
The tipster revealed to investigators that Martin had been a high school friend, and had become increasingly political on Facebook, according to the DOJ documents. According to the tipster, Martin had indicated that he would be in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.
Around the day of Jan. 15, FBI agents interviewed Martin by phone. Martin told investigators that he was indeed at the rally on Jan. 6 with his father. He told agents that after the rally he helped his father back to his hotel room and then proceeded to go to the Capitol building, according to DOJ documents.
DOJ documents say Martin told investigators that he saw individuals scaling a wall, and overloading stairs. Martin reportedly told agents that he stood between police and protestors attempting to calm everyone down, before deciding to leave and watch the incident from the Capitol grounds.
Agents obtained a search warrant and reportedly found evidence that Martin had been in contact with a person who had “advocated for violence in the lead-up to January 6.”
Investigators say video evidence was found on Martin’s Facebook account reportedly showing Martin holding open the door to the Capitol, as well as a confrontation between Martin and law enforcement.
In addition, investigators found a publicly available video that showed Martin on U.S. Capitol grounds speaking to law enforcement “stating words to the effect of, ‘You guys are not doing your job. You swore an oath. You’re bound by your word. Move out of the way and let us in. Move out of the way and let us in.'” DOJ documents say the video also showed Martin opening a door and entering the U.S. Capitol.
The document alleges that closed-circuit television footage shows Martin inside the Capitol and being forced out by law enforcement officers.
Later, the DOJ document says video shows Martin holding a door to the U.S. Capitol open before being hit in the head with a chair thrown from behind him, and being sprayed with a “chemical irritant” The investigation also cites a video from Twitter showing Martin inside the Capitol.
The document is signed by G. Michael Harver, U.S. Magistrate Judge. The complete document is available on the Department of Justice’s website.