WASHINGTON — A former top editor of an Orthodox Jewish newspaper in New York City was arrested Thursday on charges that he interfered with police officers who were trying to protect the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot.
Elliot Resnick, 39, was chief editor of The Jewish Press when he joined the crowd of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to an FBI agent's affidavit.
Videos show Resnick grabbing and holding the arm of a Capitol police sergeant who was spraying a chemical irritant to prevent rioters from entering the building, the affidavit says. Another officer tried to remove Resnick’s hand from the sergeant’s arm, the agent wrote.
The FBI arrested Resnick in New York City on charges including civil disorder and assault of or interference with law enforcement. Clay Kaminsky, an attorney representing Resnick in New York, declined to comment on the charges.
The Jewish Press, based in Brooklyn, bills itself as the largest independent weekly Jewish newspaper in the U.S. A statement on its website says it is “known for its editorial feistiness" and “was politically incorrect long before the phrase was coined.”
Politico reported in April 2021 that video showed Resnick inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Resnick later wrote an article defending the Capitol riot without acknowledging his presence in the building that day, Politico's report noted.
At the time, The Jewish Press publisher Naomi Mauer told Politico that the newspaper believed Resnick “acted within the law.” A statement from The Jewish Press editorial board confirmed Resnick was in the Capitol on Jan. 6 and had been “covering the rally and the rest of the day’s terrible events" for the newspaper.
The editorial board wrote, “The Jewish Press does not see why Elliot’s personal views on former President Trump should make him any different from the dozens of other journalists covering the events, including many inside the Capitol building during the riots.”
Then-President Trump addressed a crowd of his supporters at the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6. The mob that stormed the Capitol disrupted a joint session of Congress that was certifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Before the riot, Resnick posted social media messages echoing Trump's baseless claims that Democrats stole the election from him, according to posts cited by the FBI affidavit.
Resnick had been a reporter and editor at The Jewish Press since 2006. He left the newspaper in May 2021, before the FBI says it began investigating him.
The Jewish Press staff didn’t immediately respond to email and telephone messages seeking comment on Resnick’s arrest.
Approximately 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Several riot defendants have claimed that they were acting as journalists when they joined the mob in entering the Capitol, but prosecutors and judges have routinely rejected those claims.
For the past two years, the FBI has been fanning out across the county to arrest Capitol riot suspects. The cases are often based on tips that they received in the first months after the riot.
The FBI agent's account of Resnick's actions on Jan. 6 portray him as an active participant in the riot.
Video showed Resnick repeatedly gesturing for others to come up stairs toward the Capitol after rioters broke through a line of police officers, the agent's affidavit says.
Renick was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol through the East Rotunda doors, according to the FBI. After entering the building, Resnick joined others in attempting to push open a door that a police officer was trying to keep closed, the FBI said. Another officer who tried to stop Renick was thrown to the ground by a different rioter.
Resnick grabbed and pulled other rioters into the Capitol after he failed to open the door, according to the affidavit. It says he spent roughly 50 minutes inside the Capitol before leaving.