Federal prosecutors have charged three Lindstrom men in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, including allegedly using a shield to assault law enforcement.
Prosecutors in the District of Columbia charged Robert Westbury, 62, his son, Isaac Westbury, 19, and a third man, Aaron James, 35, with crimes ranging from assaulting Capitol police officers to disrupting government business. The arrests occurred barely six months after another son, Jonah Westbury, 26, was charged in connection with the Capitol siege.
The FBI arrested the three men on Monday and a judge unsealed a 10-count indictment — five felonies, five misdemeanors — following their first court appearance. All five felony charges are against Isaac Westbury and James, who also both face additional misdemeanor charges.
Monday's arrests bring the total number of Minnesotans charged with federal crimes in the Jan. 6 insurrection to eight. According to the George Washington University Program on Extremism, more than 600 people have been charged with federal crimes related to storming the U.S. Capitol as a pro-Trump mob sought to disrupt a joint session of Congress convened to certify the 2020 presidential election results.
Reached by phone Monday, Rosemarie Westbury — who shares an address with the defendants but did not confirm her relationship to them — described the case as a "tyrannical system that is bullying the citizens of this once great United States of America."
"It's a false narrative," Westbury said. "None of these individuals that were brought into custody have any criminal records. None of them have any criminality within them. None of them did any criminal activities."
She later added: "The government that we have in place is a domestic threat as far as I'm concerned."
FBI agents are still seeking help tracking down participants in the events of Jan. 6, fanning out nationwide in what has been called the biggest criminal probe ever undertaken by the Justice Department.
A federal grand jury in D.C. charged Isaac Westbury and Aaron James with using a law enforcement shield to "forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere" with an officer and with carrying a dangerous weapon into the U.S. Capitol as they allegedly tried to "impede the orderly conduct of government business and official functions." Both are felony charges.
Robert Westbury is not accused of using a weapon during the riot but instead faces misdemeanor charges of illegally and knowingly entering the U.S. Capitol and trying to disrupt government business and functions. Charges against all three also included parading, demonstrating and picketing in a U.S. Capitol Building. The charging document is light on details aside from listing the federal crimes levied against the men.
Keala Ede, a federal public defender assigned to represent them, declined to comment on Monday. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia also declined to comment.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Schultz allowed all three men to be released from U.S. Marshals Service custody in Minneapolis after brief initial court appearances conducted virtually on Monday. Proceedings in their D.C. cases will continue remotely next week.
Ede said in the hearing that Jonah Westbury, the 26-year-old relative also awaiting trial in D.C. on charges related to the Capitol riot, was planning to pick up the men once they were released from custody Monday.
As part of the conditions for their release, the three are barred from possessing firearms or destructive devices, "excessive alcohol consumption" or illegal drug use. They also were ordered to turn over their passports. Their next court appearances are scheduled for Oct. 12 before a District of Columbia judge via Zoom.
Jonah Westbury was arrested and charged in April with participating in the Capitol riot. The FBI said that a former high school classmate told the bureau that the person saw videos posted to social media by Westbury in which he narrated his actions inside the Capitol.
Westbury, a former wrestler for the University of Mary Marauders in Bismarck, N.D., recorded himself spinning around and laughing inside the Capitol, according to an FBI affidavit. "We made it," he said, according to the affidavit. "We got pepper sprayed, got abused."
"First time in the Capitol," he said in another video, also taken in the Capitol. "I'm proud of every [expletive] one of you."
Charging documents filed against Jonah Westbury in April made no reference to his relatives participating in the events of Jan. 6.
Jonah Westbury's next court appearance in the District of Columbia is scheduled for Nov. 3. His attorneys and prosecutors have told a judge that they may be able to resolve the case before it would go to trial. Charges against him include many of the same that his relatives now face: entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building and grounds; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Staff writer Andy Mannix contributed to this report.