Capitol rioter who bragged he 'took the White House' charged with lying to the FBI

WASHINGTON — The FBI arrested a Georgia man who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and then posted a video on social media bragging that rioters "took the White House," the Justice Department said Wednesday.

William Frederick Beals II, 52, of Ringgold, Georgia, is charged with a felony count of knowingly making false statements, along with several misdemeanor offenses. Beals, photos show, wore a black helmet with a "F--- ANTIFA" sticker on it when he stormed the Capitol. Photos show that Beals was at the front of the mob, climbing scaffolding to get toward the building, and the FBI said he shouted expletives at police. Beals was arrested in Georgia last week, and he made his initial appearance in Tennessee, according to the Justice Department.

William Frederick Beals outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (FBI )
William Frederick Beals outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (FBI )

“So we officially took the White House," Beals said in a TikTok video after he left the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, the FBI affidavit said.

Numerous other Jan. 6 rioters who stormed the Capitol, home to the legislative branch, also believed they had stormed the White House, the seat of the executive branch. “Storm the White House!” said Doug Jensen, a QAnon believer sentenced to five years in prison. “That’s what we do!” Another man, a Florida doctor named Kenneth Kelly, said as he pleaded guilty that it was “embarrassing” that he confused the Capitol for the White House. Far-right extremist Riley Williams also stated, falsely, that she was “STORMING THE WHITE HOUSE.”

The FBI said Beals also bragged in a text message after the Capitol breach that he knew it would be “easy to get in.”

Beals entered the Capitol at least twice and donned a gas mask the second time, joining a group that "physically overpowered" officers at the Senate wing door, the FBI said.

Beals spoke with the FBI in July 2021 and October 2021, according to the affidavit, and denied entering the Capitol. At the second meeting, Beals said his "security clearance had been revoked," according to an affidavit. (In June, citing documents obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request, a journalist for Raw Story reported that the Tennessee Valley Authority had banned Beals from the nuclear power facilities where he worked.)

Later, after having moved to Georgia, he reportedly complained about having lost his career as a union carpenter because of the Jan. 6 investigation.

While countless Jan. 6 participants have been accused in court documents of lying to the FBI about their actions, few have formally been charged with felonies for such conduct. The so-called 1001 charge, as it's known in law enforcement circles, makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully lie to federal agents. A Justice Department database of Jan. 6 defendants indicates that the charge has been brought against only two other Capitol attack defendants.

About 1,100 people have been charged in connection with the attack. The total scope of people who could face charges tops 3,000, and online "Sedition Hunters" have identified hundreds more Jan. 6 participants who have not been arrested. The statute of limitations for most of the crimes committed in the Capitol attack expires in January 2026.

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