An active duty U.S. Marine stationed at Quantico has pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges, including assaulting a police officer, stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, 40, of Woodbridge, pleaded not guilty Monday in an electronic hearing at the District of Columbia U.S. District Court.
Warnagiris is charged with assaulting an officer, civil disorder, obstruction of the U.S. Congress, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of Congress, entering a restricted building without authority, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, physical violence in a restricted building, disorderly conduct at the U.S. Capitol, physical violence at the Capitol and demonstrating in the Capitol.
Warnagiris was arrested May 13 in Virginia. Cumulatively, the charges would carry more than 49 years in jail.
The FBI has said that Warnagiris "violently entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, after pushing through a line of police officers guarding the East Rotunda doors.”
Once inside, Warnagiris positioned himself in the corner of the doorway, using his body to keep the door open and pull others inside, according to the criminal complaint. When a U.S. Capitol Police officer tried to pull the doors shut, Warnagiris refused and continued pushing it open, the court record states.
Warnagiris can be seen pushing the officer in an effort to maintain his position in the open door in security camera footage and publicly available video footage captured shortly after 2:25 p.m., the FBI said.
Warnagiris has been stationed at Quantico since last summer, the FBI said. He was identified as a suspect in the Capitol breach after a former coworker recognized him in FBI wanted photos.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is assisting.
During Monday’s hearing, Judge Paul Friedman amended the conditions of Warnagiris’ release to allow him to visit family in Winchester.
The prosecution requested a 60-day continuance to adequately provide evidence to the defense, which is led by Alexandria attorney Marina Medvin.
Medvin was the first attorney representing a defendant in the storming of the U.S. Capitol to request a change of venue, arguing in at least one other case that D.C. courts aren’t politically fair enough for defendants, according to The Washington Post. No venue change has been sought in Warnagiris’ case.
In defending a Texas woman, Medvin argued to move the trial from D.C. to western Texas because D.C. jurors would comprise “the most politically prejudiced jury in the entire country.”
In discussing the amount of video evidence in Warnagiris’ case on Monday, Friedman cautioned all parties and anyone who might be listening to the hearing to be balanced in their view of the footage.
“A lot of it is pretty disturbing,” Friedman said. “But one has to be careful to focus on the individual defendant and the charges against that one person rather than get caught up in everything else that is going on in the video."
Friedman set a virtual status hearing for noon Aug. 27.