A 23-year-old man who allegedly assaulted a police officer during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was later paid by the Virginia Republican Party to campaign for now-Gov. Glenn Youngkin, HuffPost has confirmed.
Joseph Brody was arrested by federal authorities last month near his home in northern Virginia for his alleged role in the insurrection. He is charged with multiple felonies, including: assaulting, resisting or impeding law enforcement officers, causing bodily injury; interfering with a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder; and obstruction of an official proceeding.
According to an FBI affidavit, Brody attended the riot as part of a contingent of young men affiliated with the “America First” white nationalist movement. Brody allegedly pushed a metal barricade into a police officer, knocking him over.
He also allegedly entered Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s conference room, where he briefly removed an American flag from its holder, and the U.S. Senate chamber, where he took photos of documents on senators’ desks. After exiting the Capitol, Brody allegedly joined other rioters in destroying media equipment.
A famous photo from that day — Time magazine called it one of the best of the year — appears to show Brody in a suit and tie, with an American flag neck gaiter pulled over his mouth, standing arms outstretched on the building’s steps as he surveys the crowd of rioters breaking into the Capitol.
Later in 2021 — according to evidence unearthed this week by the anti-fascist group Anonymous Comrades Collective and online sleuths known collectively as Sedition Hunters — Brody was hired by the Virginia GOP to help campaign for Youngkin.
Brody, according to the Fairfax County GOP website, had an official state Republican Party email address. He appears to have given a YouTube tutorial on phone banking for campaign volunteers and staffers. And he provided door-knocking training for volunteers.
Social media photos show a man bearing a strong resemblance to Brody — as seen in insurrection photos obtained by the FBI — campaigning for Youngkin and other Virginia Republican candidates. In one picture, the man who appears to be Brody holds a Youngkin campaign sign. In another, he’s wearing a Youngkin t-shirt.
“Mr. Brody was employed by the party as a door-knocker for one month last fall. He has not been employed by the Republican Party of Virginia for over a year,” a party spokesperson, Ellie Sorensen, told HuffPost on Wednesday. The confirmation was first reported Tuesday on Twitter by Ben Paviour, a journalist for Virginia public broadcaster VPM.
“Mr. Brody never worked for or with the Youngkin campaign,” Kristin Davison, a political strategist who shaped Youngkin’s successful bid for governor, told HuffPost in a statement. Davison seemed to be drawing a distinction without a difference, suggesting that Brody had not worked for the campaign because he was paid by the state party. She did not respond to a request for clarification.
Brody is among at least 919 people arrested for their part in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. His relationship with the GOP is just the latest example of the political party’s embrace of insurrectionism.
His mother, Maureen Brody, also attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally that turned into insurrection; she once posted on Gab, the white supremacist-friendly social media platform, that she got near enough to the Capitol that she and others were targeted with tear gas. Footage found by anti-fascist researchers also appears to show her on the building’s steps — a restricted area.
Months later, Maureen Brody was named as the Republican nominee for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. During her campaign — on June 21, 2021 — she posted a photo to Gab showing her standing behind a table draped with an America First flag. She was running in a heavily Democratic district and lost in the general election by 30 points.
Maureen Brody also appears to have helped in Youngkin’s bid for governor, according to the Fairfax County GOP website, by coordinating a door-knocking campaign.
Neither Davison, the strategist for the Youngkin campaign, nor the Virginia GOP responded to requests for comment about Maureen Brody photographing herself with the America First flag.
Joseph Brody and Maureen Brody also did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the FBI affidavit, Joseph Brody showed up to the Capitol on Jan. 6 with four other men affiliated with America First, all of whom have been arrested.
The five men illegally entered the Capitol, the FBI alleges, at 2:16 p.m., moving throughout the building. After entering Pelosi’s conference room, Brody removed an American flag from its stand and then replaced it when one of his friends communicates something to him, according to surveillance footage.
In the Senate chamber, he “appeared to hold a cell phone in his hand and photograph” documents and other information on senators’ desks, the FBI says.
On the north side of the Capitol, the affidavit says, Brody could be seen “lifting a metal barricade” and pushing it against a police officer who had been attempting to use a fire extinguisher to hold back rioters.
After leaving the Capitol, Brody and his America First crew watched as other rioters destroyed equipment belonging to journalists reporting on the insurrection. Brody then allegedly joined in on the destruction, damaging a “corded phone,” per the affidavit.
He was arrested on Sept. 15 in Springfield near his home. He appeared in court and was released pending further court appearances.