Who is James Bonet? New York rioter seen smoking a joint inside Capitol building charged by FBI
Court documents filed against Bonet state that he filmed himself before entering the Capitol and once inside, Bonet was seen smoking what appears to be a joint
A man who is suspected of being part of the failed insurrection attempt at the US Capitol on January 6 was charged by federal authorities on Tuesday, January 26, after investigators tracked down photos of him inside the Capitol building, including a photo that showed him allegedly smoking a joint, according to court documents.
James Bonet, whose age is unknown, is from Glens Falls with Saratoga Springs ties, according to The Daily Gazette. He faces one count each of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. It is not known at the time of reporting his custody status.
Court documents filed against Bonet state that he filmed himself before entering the Capitol and once inside. In one video, Bonet is seen smoking what appears to be a joint, according to a witness who spoke to the investigators. Bonet was reported to the FBI by his co-workers who shared screenshots of Bonet smoking at the Capitol building during the riots. The screenshot is captioned, "smoking at the capital building," according to court documents.
The investigation into Bonet began five days after the riots when a witness first spoke to the FBI about Bonet's presence at the Capitol on January 6. The witness told the FBI that some of the videos on Bonet's Facebook account were deleted after posting, including the one that showed him smoking. The FBI later confirmed that the account belonged to Bonet. In one video, Bonet says, "Capitol building smoking with all my people!" Agents obtained other information following the reporting, including his vehicle registration and license plate reader information. The readers confirmed that Bonet traveled south on Interstate 95 on January 5 through at least Baltimore, and then back north to at least Albany County on January 7.
Bonet works as a shift manager in Saratoga Springs. His co-workers discussed whether to report Bonet to the FBI after watching the video and then ultimately submitted separate tips, according to court documents. One witness stated that Bonet returned to work on January 8.
According to court documents, another section of the video posted by Bonet showed the Crypt of the Capitol and others there chanting "Whose house?" followed by "Our house," according to the court filing. Another video records Bonet declaring that his group "made it in the building" and that they are "taking it back."
According to The Daily Beast, Bonet's decision to drive down from New York to Washington DC was unsurprising to his co-workers – Bonet would regularly talk about "government conspiracy theories at work" and tried to convince others to "subscribe to those theories, including the conspiracy theory that the 2020 Presidential Election was ‘stolen.’”
One of his co-workers who contacted the FBI said they were afraid Bonet would get Covid-19 at the protest and “spread it to them because they saw photographs of Bonet... not wearing a facemask.”
Bonet is one of the dozens charged as federal authorities pursue and arrest those who were present at the deadly riots at Capitol Hill as Congress convened to certify the 2020 presidential election results. The riots left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.