A Virginia man who allegedly wore a Japanese-style face mask and “all black” clothes to pose as an anti-fascist activist on Jan. 6 pleaded not guilty on Friday to a five-count federal indictment related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol.
First charged in July, Fi Duong allegedly described himself as a militia man who had “coordinated additional surveillance efforts” on Congress in the months after the riot, prosecutors claim.
On Aug. 25, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him—under his real name and his aliases “Jim,” “Monkey” and “Monkey King”—with obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining on restricted grounds, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parading in a Capitol building.
Those charges focus on his alleged participation in the siege of the U.S. Capitol.
“While on the West Terrace, Duong is surrounded by other protestors yelling comments such as ‘Everybody inside,’ ‘Stop the steal,’ ‘Fight for Trump,’ and ‘Traitor,'” an FBI affidavit supporting his charges states.
That affidavit contains allegations about conduct following the Jan. 6 siege for which Duong has not been formally charged, including what prosecutors describe as his interest in Molotov cocktails, affinity for militia groups and coordination of surveillance of the Capitol.
“The recipe that I have. This is just from my own study and from looking at sources that I will not yet name,” Duong allegedly told an undercover FBI operative in May, supposedly referring to the homemade incendiary devices. “But again, this is all just in theory. I have not tested any of this out.”
Prosecutors do not accuse Duong of any violent acts or actually using the weapons, but the FBI’s affidavit quotes him speaking in favor of political violence and preparing for what he called “the second American Civil War.”
“Duong also opined that he likes to be connected to militias in the area and know which groups are organized and that it is important for the groups to stay ‘nice and tight—if you know what I mean,'” according to the FBI’s affidavit.
Authorities claim that Duong claimed to have a contact among the Three Percenters, a group whose name comes from the myth that it represents the portion of colonists who participated in the American Revolution. Historians have debunked that dubious statistic.
After President Joe Biden nominated David Chipman to lead the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Duong allegedly told the FBI operative that his property could turn into “Waco 2.0,” apparently referring to the 1993 standoff of the Branch Davidian compound with cult leader David Koresh, according to court papers.
According to the New York Times, Duong’s attorney Sabrina Shroff argued in a past hearing that the government sought to entrap her client, who was previously released on bond pending trial. The terms of his release called for high intensity supervision.
“You are restricted to 24-hour-a-day lock-down at your residence except for medical necessities and court appearances or other activities specifically approved by the court,” the conditions of Duong’s release state, under the heading “Home Incarceration.”
She reportedly said at the time that the government had produced no evidence that his talk of bombs went beyond chatter.
Her client’s indictment does not charge him with weapons offenses.
According to the complaint, Duong on Jan. 13 told the undercover agent that he was filming rioters inside the Capitol while “wearing all black in an effort to look like a member of Antifa,” referring to an amorphous collection of anti-fascist activists.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Allen said he started providing “substantial” discovery to the defense on Friday morning.
U.S. Judge Paul L. Friedman scheduled the next hearing for Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.
Jerry Lambe contributed reporting for this story.
(Image via FBI affidavit)
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