Sunday, June 16, 2024

Rathdrum man accused of Jan. 6 crimes

Hagadone News Network | June 10, 2024 1:09 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — A federal judge signed a warrant for the arrest of a Rathdrum man for his alleged involvement in events at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Ronald J. Cloutier is accused of violating federal law by knowingly entering a restricted facility with the intent to impede government processes, according to a criminal complaint with an arrest warrant filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The offenses are punishable by a maximum of one year in prison, as well as a year of supervised release, five years of probation and a $10,000 fine.

Investigators identified Cloutier after “photographs and videos of hundreds of persons inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 without authority to be there” were disseminated via social media and other online platforms.

One image included in the criminal complaint appears to show Cloutier in a crowd of people listening to former President Donald Trump “encouraging the crowd to proceed to the U.S. Capitol and protest the certification of the Electoral College votes.”

Other images appear to show Cloutier walking down Constitution Avenue, in the direction of the U.S. Capitol, court records said, as well as outside the building “within a restricted area.”

Video footage shows Cloutier inside the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol Building, just outside the Senate Parliamentarian’s office, as well as outside the Senate Wing doors, according to court documents.

Records from Google show that a mobile device associated with Cloutier’s email address was present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Amazon records connected with that email address revealed Cloutier’s current residence.

FBI personnel also interviewed some of Cloutier’s former coworkers, who reportedly reviewed photos from the investigative file and confirmed the person in the photos was Cloutier. One person noted a Stetson-style hat Cloutier sometimes wore in the winter, as well as his glasses, both of which were visible in some of the still images and videos.

The arrest warrant was filed May 31 and returned June 3. Cloutier made an initial appearance in federal court in Coeur d’Alene on June 3 and waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

The government did not seek detention for Cloutier, who also waived his right to a detention hearing. He was released on the condition that he not violate federal, state or local law while on release.

Cloutier is one of several Idaho residents accused of criminal activity Jan. 6. Sandpoint resident Michael Pope had a bench trial in January for his alleged involvement in Jan. 6. A verdict has not yet been entered. Legal counsel representing Pope has filed a motion for acquittal.