A Nassau County attorney who was involved in an effort to spread conspiracies about the 9/11 attacks was arrested Thursday and hit with six felony charges for his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in Washington.
John O’Kelly, 66, of East Williston, tried to wrest a police officer’s baton away from them and pushed a metal bike rack toward other officers during skirmishes outside the Capitol, according to prosecutors who cited video and police body camera footage of that day in federal filings.
Internet sleuths with the Twitter account @SeditionHunters dubbed O’Kelly #midwhitecrisis last year — after the FBI released a series of photos of him in an effort to ascertain his identity — and used the hashtag to track down information about him. Tipsters eventually helped federal authorities find O’Kelly, leading to his arrest on Thursday, federal prosecutors said.
He was charged with counts of assaulting resisting or impeding officers; civil disorder; and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, among other charges. Information about a lawyer representing O’Kelly wasn’t immediately available.
Many rioters on Jan. 6 shared the mistaken belief that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. O’Kelly, however, appeared to have dabbled in conspiracy theories long before the 2020 election. He was involved with a group of lawyers who spread falsehoods about 9/11 and who filed a lawsuit claiming that explosives were planted in the twin towers, an unfounded conspiracy theory.