US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during National Action Network 2019 convention at Sheraton Times Square. – New York, NY – April 5, 2019 (Shutterstock)
By Dan Mangan, CNBC
A man charged with with invading the Capitol and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said he was effectively following then-President Donald Trump’s orders. Garret Miller also apologized to Ocasio-Cortez for writing “Assassinate AOC” in a Twitter post, and said he would be willing to testify to Congress or a trial about the riot. Miller is one of dozens of people charged with participating in the riot, which began shortly after Trump urged supporters to pressure Congress to reject the election of Joe Biden as president.
A Texas man charged with invading the Capitol and threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Monday that he was effectively following then-President Donald Trump’s orders when he joined a mob that stormed Congress on Jan. 6.
Garret Miller, who was due to appear at a detention hearing in federal court in Dallas, also apologized to Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for writing “Assassinate AOC” in a Twitter post. He said he would be willing to testify to Congress or a trial about the riot.
Miller, 34, had on a social media account also threatened a Capitol Police officer who fatally shot a fellow rioter, saying he planned to “hug his neck with a nice rope,” authorities have said.
The Richardson resident is one of dozens of people charged with participating in the riot, which began shortly after Trump held a rally outside the White House, where he urged supporters to pressure Congress to reject the election of Joe Biden as president.
In a statement released by defense attorney Clinton Broden, Miller said he had been motivated by Trump’s false claims about having been defrauded out of re-election by ballot fraud and that, “I am ashamed of my comments.”
“I was in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, because I believed I was following the instructions of former President Trump and he was my president and the commander-in-chief. His statements also had me believing the election was stolen from him,” Miller said.
“Nevertheless, I fully recognize Joe Biden is now the President of the United States and that the election is over. Donald Trump is no longer president and I would not have any reason to continue to follow his lead.”
“While I never intended to harm Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez nor harm any members of the Capitol police force, I recognize that my social media posts were completely inappropriate. They were made at a time when Donald Trump had me believing that an American election was stolen,” he said.
Miller said: “I want to publicly apologize to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and the Capitol police officers. I have always supported law enforcement and I am ashamed by my comments.”
He also said in the statement that he was not armed when he entered the Capitol and stayed in its rotunda.
He said he left Washington and headed back to Texas “immediately after President Trump asked us to go home.”
Miller, who was arrested last Wednesday, said that “until very recently,” he had not been interested in, or involved with politics.
“Nevertheless, what Donald Trump had been saying about the election really got to me and I felt I had to support him. Still, I recognize that I am solely responsible for my actions and that there are no excuses for what I did,” he added.
“I come from a good and supportive family. My parents and brothers do not deserve the pain I have caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions and I am prepared to testify at any trial or Congressional proceeding,” Miller said.
Miller is charged in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., with: Knowingly Entering or Remaining in any Restricted Buildings or Grounds Without Lawful Authority; Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct on Capitol Grounds; Obstructing or Impeding Any Official Proceeding; Certain Acts During Civil Disorder; Threats in Interstate Commerce.
Ocasio-Cortez had responded to Miller being charged with threatening her by writing on Twitter, “On one hand you have to laugh, and on the other know that the reason they were this brazen is because they thought they were going to succeed.”
Ocasio-Cortez has said that she feared for her life during the riot and members of Congress were “nearly assassinated.”
“I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive, and not just in a general sense but also in a very, very specific sense,” she said on an Instagram Live video on Jan. 12, without giving more details.
Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting the riot. He is due to go on trial next month in the Senate, where he faces being banned from ever being president again.