Florida man arrested on felony, misdemeanor charges for actions during Jan. 6 Capitol breach

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Florida man is facing both felony and misdemeanor charges for what investigators say he did in just under an hour during the Jan. 6, 2021 breach of the U.S. Capitol.


According to court documents, the investigation into 38-year-old Michael Hennessey of Palm Harbor began on December 17, 2021, with a tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation identifying him in images taken inside the Capitol on Jan. 6.

After receiving the tip, agents from the FBI’s Tampa field office compared Hennessey’s Florida driver’s license photograph with CCTV footage from inside the Capitol to confirm his identity.

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According to court records, during an interview with FBI agents at his home in November of 2022, Hennessey identified himself in two of the images and described entering the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

Investigators say Hennessey traveled from his Palm Harbor home on Jan. 4, 2021, and attended the “Stop the Steal” rally at the Capitol Ellipse in Washington, D.C., two days later.

According to court documents, Hennessey told the FBI he listened to several of the rally’s speakers, including Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump Jr., and emphasized that he listened to former President Donald Trump’s entire speech while at the rally.

After President Trump’s speech, Hennessey told FBI agents he joined a crowd walking from the Ellipse to the Capitol and eventually entered the Capitol grounds through the West Plaza.

According to the Department of Justice, open-source video shows Hennessey proceeding toward the building by way of the northern stairs, where he joined the first group of rioters that would go on to overwhelm police lines and force law enforcement officers to retreat.

Once inside the Capitol, investigators say Hennessey joined a mob chanting “Our House” as they continued toward the Senate Carriage Door. While in that area, Hennessey can be seen donning a black face mask.

Open-source video shows Hennessey reaching the Capitol Crypt, where he appeared to record videos and take pictures while carrying a yellow “Don’t Tread on Me’ flag, which he told the FBI he received from another rioter.

Once he reached the Crypt, investigators say Hennessey positioned himself at the front of a crowd that was facing off with U.S. Capitol police who were attempting to protect the area.

In a “coordinated effort” with the mob, investigators say Hennessey went on to push against the officers, eventually helping the crowd overpower them.

After pushing past police in the Crypt, Hennessey can be seen again taking a position at the front of the advancing mob, walking down a hallway lined with offices for various members of the House of Representatives, and eventually reaching the Hall of Columns, which came to a dead end.

While walking back down the hallway, investigators say Hennessey entered the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer with a group of other rioters.

After leaving Rep. Hoyer’s office, Hennessey can be seen walking upstairs to the Capitol’s second floor just before 2:30 p.m. and entering the Rotunda, where he used his cell phone to film the activity there before exiting towards the Senate minutes later.

From the Rotunda, investigators say Hennessey walked toward the Senate and again stood at the front of a crowd that stood across from police officers who were protecting the Small Senate Rotunda exit.

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Open-source video from the incident shows Hennessey speaking to the officer as the crowd shouts, “Nancy, Nancy.”

With Hennessey at the front, investigators say that crowd eventually pushed past the officers and continued toward the Senate.

By 2:45 p.m., officers had established a line protecting the hallway to the Senate Chamber, holding the rioters at bay just outside, when Hennessey positioned himself at the front of the crowd as they began chanting “Who’s House? Our House” and “You serve us” at the officers.

At one point, investigators noted Hennessey looked back at the growing crowd and commented that the mob was “piling up” before joining them in pushing against the police line, initially succeeding in moving them back down the hall and towards the Senate.

The officers eventually used a chemical spray on the crowd and regained control of the hallway. As Hennessey returned to the rotunda, investigators say he found a group of officers who were blocking a doorway that led down a set of stairs.

By 2:50 p.m., investigators say Hennessey joined a mob in pushing against those officers, forcing them to the edge of the stairs and causing at least one to fall down them.

By 3:05 p.m., officers regained control of that doorway and, eventually, the Capitol Rotunda.

Despite instructions from police, court records say Hennessey remained in the Rotunda until officers formed a line and forced rioters toward the exit.

According to court records, Hennessey finally left the Rotunda and the Capitol building at approximately 3:10 p.m. after spending about 56 minutes in the Capitol building.

Once outside the Capitol, investigators say Hennessey remained on restricted Capitol grounds and filmed rioters as they threw objects at police officers who attempted to clear the doorway.

Investigators say Hennessey later joined rioters who faced off with a line of police officers on the Capitol’s East Plaza and others who gathered around video cameras and other recording equipment that had been abandoned by reporters due to assaults and threats from rioters.

Despite claiming in his November 2022 interview that his phone died while he was inside the Capitol, other video footage shows him using his cell phone to film other rioters lighting the television equipment on fire.

Finally, Hennessey told FBI agents in his interview that he left Washington D.C. and drove with a cousin to Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Hennessey was arrested in Florida Wednesday on a felony count of civil disorder. He’s also charged with misdemeanor counts of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and parading, picketing, or demonstrating in a Capitol building.

The FBI’s Tampa and Washington Field Offices are investigating the case.

According to the Department of Justice, since the Jan. 6, 2021, beach of the U.S. Capitol, more than 1,385 people have been charged, including 500 who have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony.

The FBI is still asking anyone with tips to call them at 1-800-225-5324 or visit tips.fbi.gov.

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