A U.S. military veteran who was charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach has died.
John Anderson, 61, died at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, on Sept. 21, according to family members and his lawyer. His cause of death hasn’t been disclosed.
“My sweet, handsome husband went home to be with the Lord,” Anderson’s wife said, according to his lawyer, Marina Medvin. Anderson’s wife is asking for prayers and privacy as she mourns the loss.
Anderson, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was charged with seven counts in connection with the Capitol breach, including civil disorder, interfering with law enforcement, and stealing government property.
Anderson was arrested in late February in St. Augustine, Florida, and released pending trial about a week later.
Authorities said he was part of the crowd that attempted to enter the Capitol through a tunnel, clashing with officers in the process. But his lawyers said he did nothing wrong and was trapped by people pressing him from behind.
Screenshots from surveillance video in the tunnel show Anderson was struck with a chemical substance let loose by a male in the crowd. Police officers later sprayed pepper spray into the crowd, which also hit Anderson. He was assisted by officers through the tunnel after several minutes. Anderson said the officers saved his life.
But he also protested against the charges, which his lawyer said weren’t backed by evidence.
“John Anderson never hurt or touched a single police officer. The video evidence proves this,” Medvin said in an emailed statement. “John Anderson died an innocent man wrongfully accused.”
Before Anderson’s death, Medvin was preparing to reject a plea offer on his behalf.
The government is preparing to dismiss the case against Anderson, according to his lawyer. That’s common practice, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said in a separate case this month.
Lamberth cited United States v. Pogue as he granted a motion for abatement from the government and dismissed the indictment against Joseph Barnes, a Texas resident, who died after getting into a vehicular accident. Barnes had also been charged in the Jan. 6 breach.
The federal prosecutor against Anderson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The court was informed on Sept. 24 of Anderson’s death. Parties were ordered to file a joint status report by Nov. 8.