2 Chicago Men Reject Plea Deals For January 6 Capitol Attack – NBC Chicago

Two Chicago men charged in connection with the January 6, 2021 US Capitol attack have moved to deny plea deals offered by federal prosecutors, according to court records obtained by NBC 5 Investigates.

Athanasios Zoyganeles, who was arrested and charged in February, accepted a deal and pleaded guilty on July 1. But on Wednesday, his lawyers filed a motion to withdraw his plea of ​​guilty “in light of possible newly discovered evidence.”

In the motion, Zoyganeles’ attorney notes that he advised his client on “the risks” of filing the motion, including that he could “risk conviction” on all four counts against him, rather than the one he pleaded guilty to. , and that he could “probably receive a considerably ‘serious’ sentence.”

“Nevertheless, he has made it unequivocally clear that, despite the associated risks, Defendant wishes to withdraw its plea and proceed to a resolution on the merits,” reads a footnote in the motion, stating that Zoyganeles’ plea is “tarnished” used to be. because he entered into the agreement only “because he saw no other way forward because of his inability to fully understand the process by which he was charged.”

Lawrence Ligas, who was arrested in December, rejected a plea deal last week and requested a trial in court, records show.

“I’m a true patriot, I’m a true grassroots activist, and if you’re sincere and honest, you’re going all out,” NBC told 5 Investigates Friday. The next one is scheduled to appear in court on September 27.

Zoyganeles and Ligas are two of 24 total Illinoisans arrested and charged in the now 19 months since the attack.

Seven individuals from Illinois have signed a plea deal and have been convicted. The first to be arrested was Bradley Rukstales, a former Inverness tech CEO who was caught on video throwing a chair at several officers and later knocked down in a fight with police. He was sentenced to 30 days in prison and ordered to pay a $500 restitution.

Others received lighter sentences: such as Amy and John Schubert of Crest Hill, each given 18 months’ probation, or the North Shore brothers Christian Kulas and Mark Kulas, each sentenced to six months’ probation.

Four others in the Capitol on Jan. 6 have accepted a plea deal and are awaiting sentencing.

Brothers Anthony Carollo, of Lockport, and Jeremiah Carollo, of Glen Carbon, as well as their cousin Cody Vollan, of Lockport, all admitted to traveling to DC together and identified themselves in photos taken inside the Capitol, court records show. They will be sentenced on September 13.

Prosecutors say Leticia Ferreira, of Indian Head Park, texted that she was inside the Capitol. She has also entered a plea deal and is expected to be sentenced on September 14.

Court records obtained by NBC 5 Investigations show that at least seven others have received a plea deal or are involved in plea negotiations.

That figure includes Dawn Frankowski, of Naperville, and David Wiersma, of Posen, who, according to prosecutors, entered the Capitol together. Their deadline to accept that deal is Friday.

Former Chicago police officer Karol Chwiesiuk has also been offered a deal, data shows. He is due to appear in court on August 23.

Six other people from Illinois have pleaded not guilty, four with a trial date — one scheduled to begin in September and three others in the spring.

Nationally, the U.S. Department of Justice says more than 850 people from nearly all 50 states have been arrested and charged with crimes related to the Capitol bombing, including more than 260 people charged that day with assaulting or resisting. of law enforcement.

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