An attorney representing a former federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent who was arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol incident said Thursday that his client committed “no crime” and accused the Justice Department of missing the mark in building its case.
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the former agent, Mark Sami Ibrahim of California, was arrested Tuesday and charged with four crimes: making a false statement; entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a firearm; stepping or climbing on features of the Capitol grounds in a way that causes injury to property; and remaining on Capitol grounds with a firearm.
Darren Richie, the attorney representing Ibrahim, was on Thursday interviewed by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who listed the charges the agent was facing and said he faces up to 15 years behind bars if convicted.
“It’s hard to see, based on the facts and the 16-page charging document that we have read, what exactly the crime here is that would justify 15 years in prison,” Carlson said, before asking Richie to comment.
“To me it looks like we really have a Department of Justice seeking quantity over quality,” the attorney said. “I don’t see any crime here.”
“The particular crime that you just mentioned, with regard to 5104, in particular section (b), describes injuries to property,” Richie continued. “No property was injured, no person was injured, no violence was committed. He didn’t enter or breach Capitol grounds whatsoever. There’s no crime and we intend to defeat all of the charges in short order.”
Ibrahim, who also took part in the interview, said that he had been encouraged by a friend and FBI informant to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I think he asked me to go with him to protect him and I think he was there to document. Both him and I were seeking to protect the public that day,” Ibrahim said. “We went there with the intention of seeking those who wished to do our government harm, to stop them, and to protect those who peacefully protest.”
The agent added that, while he was on the Capitol grounds, he walked up to the FBI SWAT team and offered them his assistance.
“Individuals on that team have my personal phone number and, yes, I was carrying my firearm because I was a credentialed DEA agent—I’m expected to,” he said.
He added that he does not believe the FBI informant that he brought to the rally that day “was malicious or trying to entrap me in any way, shape, or form.”
“I think we were just trying to do the best we could with what we had,” Ibrahim said. “It was chaos and we went there with the intention to protect the public.”
Charging documents (pdf) indicate Ibrahim told an FBI special agent that “he went along with his friend, who had been asked by the FBI to document the event, and that he went along with his friend to assist with that effort.”
But the special agent said in the charging document that Ibrahim’s friend told the FBI that he was “not there in any formal capacity for the FBI and that the FBI was not giving him directions or marching orders.”
The friend told the special agent that Ibrahim “crafted this story in an effort to ‘cover his [expletive]” and that the real reason he was there was to promote himself and use the protests as a “stage for launching a ‘Liberty Tavern’ political podcast and cigar brand.”
Ibrahim is the first federal law enforcement officer to be arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 incident. So far, more than 500 people have been arrested in connection to the Capitol breach.