The man who was seen leaping over a banister in the Senate Gallery and was later dubbed “Zip Tie Guy” — due to him gripping a handful of the plastic restraints at the time — has been convicted of felonies and misdemeanors for breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. His mother, charged in the same case, was also convicted.
Eric Gavelek Munchel, 32, of Nashville, Tennessee, and Lisa Marie Eisenhart, 59, of Woodstock, Georgia, were found guilty Tuesday in a stipulated trial before Senior U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth. In a stipulated trial, the defendant and prosecutors agree to a set of facts that form the basis of the judge’s ultimate decision; in this case, Lamberth found that the facts supported convictions for both mother and son of conspiracy to commit obstruction and obstruction of an official proceeding, both felonies that carry a maximum 20 years behind bars. They were also convicted of trespassing and disorderly conduct misdemeanors.
Munchel was additionally convicted of disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, a felony with a potential 10-year prison sentence, and unauthorized possession of a deadly or dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds, a five-year felony.
Munchel and Eisenhart had traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend then-President Donald Trump’s so-called “Stop the Steal” rally, where Trump repeated false claims of a stolen 2020 presidential election and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol as Congress was set to certify Joe Biden’s win. The mother-and-son duo did just that.
“As they approached the Capitol building, they saw other rioters fighting with police and encouraged them to do so,” the Justice Department said in a press release. “They experienced police wearing body armor and using chemical irritants and gas to repel rioters like themselves, but they were not deterred. Instead, even though they were aware their actions were unlawful, they pushed forward, past police lines, and entered the Capitol building.”
According to the agreed-upon set of facts, both Eisenhart and Munchel were wearing tactical vests. Munchel was additionally equipped with a Taser holstered at his side and “his cell phone mounted on his chest, with the camera facing outwards.” That camera recorded some 50 minutes of the pair’s approach and entry into the Capitol. During this time, Munchel and Eisenhart encouraged their fellow rioters to overwhelm police and “pushed their way systematically through the crowd surrounding the Capitol.”
At one point, Munchel fist-bumped a member of the right-wing antigovernment Oath Keepers militia group. Members of the Oath Keepers have been convicted of seditious conspiracy, the most serious charge to date in the federal government’s expansive prosecution of the Capitol attack.
Mother and son were also heard on the recording exchanging their observations of what was going on around them.
“This s— is on the news, that guy was saying,” Eisenhart says.
“Oh yeah … they are going to use this against us as hard as they can,” Munchel replied.
“I don’t care,” a defiant Eisenhart said. “That’s fine. They can.”
“We ain’t playing f—— nice no g—— more,” said an equally defiant Munchel.
“That’s right,” Eisenhart agreed.
“We’re f—— ready to f— s— up,” Munchel is also heard saying in response to an unidentified man who told the pair that they look like they are “ready to go.”
They eventually entered the building through the Upper West Terrace door and made their way to the Senate Gallery.
On the way, Munchel apparently spotted in an interior closet the plastic handcuffs to which he would eventually be linked.
“Upon seeing the zip ties, Munchel shouted ‘zip ties! I need to get me some of them motherf—–,'” the stipulated statement of facts says. “Munchel took several zip ties and Eisenhart took one. Multiple other individuals took zip ties.”
After grabbing some of the zip ties, both Munchel and Eisenhart entered the Senate Gallery. Munchel was still carrying his holstered Taser.
They stayed inside the Senate Gallery for a few moments before eventually making their way out.
“Sorry, guys, still love you,” Munchel said to nearby police officers, according to the statement of facts.
After leaving the Capitol, the pair weren’t shy about sharing their thoughts on what they apparently felt was a victory.
Later, both Munchel and Eisenhart “gave statements to a reporter in which they acknowledged that their actions were intended to intimidate Congress,” the filing says.
Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee, set a sentencing date of Sept. 8.
Read the joint statement of facts here.
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