Downstate men plead guilty in U.S. Capitol breach

Douglas K. Wangler and Bruce J. Harrison are the second and third known Illinoisans to plead guilty in connection with the Jan. 6th riot.

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Federal authorities say this image depicts Douglas K. Wangler of Illinois inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Federal authorities say this image depicts Douglas K. Wangler of Illinois inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

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A pair of Downstate men pleaded guilty Friday to charges stemming from the breach of the U.S. Capitol, admitting they spent about 20 minutes inside the building on Jan. 6.

Federal authorities in May charged Douglas K. Wangler and Bruce J. Harrison, both of the Danville area, for their role in the Capitol breach. They are the second and third known Illinoisans to plead guilty in connection with the event.

Wangler and Harrison each pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, a Class B misdemeanor, and face no more than six months behind bars. Their sentencing has been set for Dec. 16.

At least 14 Illinoisans have faced charges so far in connection with the breach.

Documents alleged that Wangler could be seen in an 11-second video standing in the Capitol Crypt on Jan. 6, pumping his right fist in the air and chanting, “U.S.A.”

An FBI agent who viewed surveillance footage from the Capitol said he spotted Wangler with Harrison, who later told authorities he wore a New England Patriots jacket on Jan. 6 because of its patriotic colors.

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Federal authorities say this image depicts Bruce J. Harrison inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

U.S. District Court records

“If walking around and singing some patriotic songs is a crime, then I guess I am guilty,” Wangler allegedly told someone later.

The videos allegedly showed Wangler and Harrison entering and exiting the Capitol, but the agent wrote that “none of the videos I reviewed depict Wangler or Harrison damaging property or participating in other violent acts.”

Wangler appears to have a connection to an obscure Star Wars character named Quinlan Vos. Posts previously viewed by the Chicago Sun-Times on Wangler’s Facebook page —which is no longer available —made reference to the character, who bears a resemblance to Wangler.

Baku Patel, the pair’s defense attorney, has said Wangler had a “paid gig” working for Disney as a model.

Disney officials have not responded to requests for comment.

Patel also told the Sun-Times in May that Wangler and Harrison “feel extreme remorse” about their role in the breach.

“If they could do it all over again, they would not have gone,” he said. “It wasn’t what they thought it was going to be.”

Bradley Rukstales, a former CEO from Inverness, late last month became the first known Illinoisan to plead guilty in the Capitol breach, which prosecutors say has led to what will likely be the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history.

Rukstales admitted he tossed a chair toward U.S. Capitol police officers who were “dozens of feet away,” and he had to be dragged behind a police line to be arrested. He faces up to six months behind bars, and his sentencing hearing is set for Nov. 12.

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