ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester man accused of smashing a window at the U.S. Capitol during the January 6, 2020 riot was charged with seditious conspiracy Monday.

It’s the latest in a growing list of charges filed against Dominic Pezzola, who investigators say smashed a window with a stolen Capitol Police shield, smoked a cigar inside the Capitol building, and threatened to kill former Vice President Mike Pence.

“The Conspiracy,” as alleged in the new court documents, is that Pezzola and others “did knowingly conspire…to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force.”

Pezzola was charged alongside others in the far-right extremist group known as the Proud Boys, including then-leader Enrique Tarrio.

Under the new charge, Pezzola and the group are accused of, among other things:

  • Encouraging Proud Boys members to attend the January 6 protest
  • Participating in meetings and encrypted conversations in Washington, D.C. to plan the attack
  • Using communications equipment to coordinate the attack as it happened
  • “Directing, mobilizing, and leading” the crowd onto Capitol grounds and inside the building
  • Dismantling barricades
  • Destroying property
  • Assaulting police

According to the indictment, Pezzola was in touch with Tarrio by December 29, 2020, when he sent a Tarrio an encrypted message saying, “I’ll be in dc w a few other brothers from NY.”

Court documents further allege Pezzola spent Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, 2020 communicating with an unnamed person known to the grand jury. On December 30, that person sent Tarrio a nine-page document —called “1776 Returns”— which contained a plan to occupy “crucial buildings” in the Capitol to “show our politicians We the People are in charge.”

The indictment does not specifically accuse Pezzola of writing that document.

According to the indictment, Tarrio posted a picture of Pezzola on December 31 with the message “Lords of War. #J6 #J20.” January 6 was the date of the Electoral College vote, and January 20 was the date of the inauguration.

Tarrio allegedly created an encrypted group chat on January 2, with at least 65 members. Pezzola was a member of that group chat, which investigators say was used to plan the attack.

Tarrio was arrested on January 4, at which point the indictment states a new encrypted group chat was created without him. Members, including Pezzola, were encouraged to delete their messages from the old chat group.

According to the indictment, Pezzola was also a member of a “Boots on the Ground” encrypted messaging group that was created on January 5, specifically to be used by Proud Boys members.

“Just trying to get our numbers,” a message in that group reads, “So we can plan accordingly for tonight and go over tomorrow’s plan.”

Pezzola allegedly posted to that group at 8:00 p.m. on January 5, saying “Anybody need coms programmed hit me up.”

According to the indictment, Pezzola was one of about 100 Proud Boys members to gather near the Washington Monument at 10:00 a.m. on January 6.

Federal authorities say video evidence proves Pezzola broke into the Capitol building with a stolen police shield, and encouraged nearby rioters to enter the building. He was arrested in January, 2021 and initially charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and restricted buildings or grounds.

Pezzola has since argued that the conditions of him imprisonment constitute a human rights violation.


This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Read the indictment