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Midwood man arrested for alleged participation in Capitol riot

Anton Lunyk, pictured in the red hat, was arrested by federal agents on May 11 for his alleged participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York

A Midwood man was arrested by federal agents Tuesday morning on suspicion that he participated in the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Anton Lunyk, 26, was charged with breaking into a federal building, disorderly conduct, and attempting to disrupt the flow of government business. He appeared virtually before Chief Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak of the Eastern District of New York for arraignment the afternoon of May 11, and was released without bail. His next virtual court date is scheduled for Thursday, May 20 at 1 pm in front of a Washington DC federal judge.

The judge ordered Lunyk to surrender his passport, restrict his travel only to the New York area and Washington DC (the latter only for court hearings and meeting with attorneys), and to not enter the grounds of the US Capitol or any State Capitol for political reasons until the matter is resolved. 

Prosecutors attempted to ban Lunyk from “participating in political rallies, gatherings, or social media exchanges” as part of his release conditions, but Lunyk’s defense attorney, Michael Weil of Federal Defenders, countered that that would violate his client’s First Amendment rights. The judge sided with Weil, but Lunyk will still have to seek approval from pretrial services before attending any political rally or “post[ing] social media commentary.”

The FBI was tipped off to Lunyk’s participation in the deadly riot at the Capitol after someone who knew him from college recognized his picture in the background of a tweet from the New York Post. That image showed Lunyk in an unspecified senator’s office with the far-right white supremacist media personality Baked Alaska, who was livestreaming the riot.

Another witness told the FBI that Lunyk had posted a selfie on Instagram leading up to Jan. 6, wearing a Make America Great Again hat, with the caption “this is going to be an interesting next few weeks 👀 who else is going to DC this week?”

A man dressed the same as the one behind Baked Alaska can also be seen on CCTV breaking into the Capitol complex with a crowd. License plate readers reportedly captured a car with plates matching Lunyk’s leaving New York on the night of Jan. 5 and returning the next night in the hours after the riot.

Lunyk is only the latest Brooklynite to be arrested in connection with the melee in DC. Aaron Mostofsky, son of Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Steven Mostofsky and also of Midwood, was arrested in January after his flamboyant appearance made him one of the most notorious of the Capitol rapscallions. A Sheepshead Bay sanitation worker was also cuffed in January after being seen in photos from the riot, and 19-year-old Dovid Schwartzberg turned himself in to the feds in April after he was seen on video leaving the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Last month, Brendan Hunt of Ridgewood, Queens was found guilty in federal court of threatening to kill lawmakers online including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, though he did not actually participate in the riots.

Lunyk could not be reached for comment, and his employer, insurance adjuster Rubin & Rosen, declined to comment.

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