WASHINGTON — Infowars host Owen Shroyer is facing criminal charges in connection with the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol.
In a new complaint filed on Friday, the US attorney’s office in Washington charged Shroyer with illegally going into a restricted area on the Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct. He’s one of the highest-profile right-wing media personalities to be prosecuted in connection with the insurrection so far.
Shroyer, who is based in Texas, had been photographed on a stage outside the Capitol with right-wing activist and Infowars founder Alex Jones, and the FBI said it received an anonymous tip from someone noting another video that appeared to show Shroyer at the top of a set of stairs on the east side of the Capitol. Jones has not been charged.
Shroyer hosts the Infowars program War Room With Owen Shroyer and has talked at length on his show over the past eight months about the Jan. 6 riots and the subsequent investigation. A Utah man charged with illegally going into the Capitol, John Earle Sullivan, even briefly landed in trouble with the government when he appeared on Shroyer’s program after he’d been arrested and then allowed to go home subject to a set of court-imposed restrictions on his internet use and other activities.
On Friday, Shroyer commented on air about the charges.
"A couple hours ago, I was informed by my attorney that there is a warrant out for my arrest with allegations involving Jan. 6, and I will have to turn myself in Monday morning," he said. "There's a lot of questions, some I have answers to, some I don't. I'm not going to be getting into more of this today on the air. And I plan on declaring innocence of these charges because I am."
Shroyer’s charging papers note that he made no secret of his plans to travel to Washington in anticipation of the demonstrations planned for Jan. 5 and 6 and was featured in promo videos hyping the events. Prosecutors cited a video posted on the Infowars platform that showed Shroyer at a rally downtown on Jan. 5 talking about his belief that the election was stolen from former president Donald Trump and whipping up the crowd around him.
“Americans are ready to fight. We’re not exactly sure what that’s going to look like perhaps in a couple of weeks if we can’t stop this certification of the fraudulent election,” prosecutors quoted Shroyer as saying at the time.
The government linked to videos that showed Shroyer on Jan. 6 marching to the Capitol along with Jones and addressing the crowd, saying at one point, “Today we march for the Capitol because on this historic January 6, 2021, we have to let our congressmen and -women know, and we have to let Mike Pence know, they stole the election, we know they stole it, and we aren’t going to accept it!”
Shroyer isn’t charged with inciting the mob or other more serious crimes. He did not immediately return requests for comment on Friday. Over the past year and a half, he’s become an outspoken opponent of COVID-19 restrictions, organizing and participating in demonstrations.
Shroyer previously had faced criminal charges for disrupting a congressional hearing in December 2019. He entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, which would result in the charges being dropped if he fulfilled certain conditions; those conditions included avoiding further arrest and completing 32 hours of community service. Prosecutors noted in his latest charging papers that as of Jan. 6, he hadn’t finished his community service hours, which meant his earlier case remained unresolved.
Shroyer was supposed to appear in DC Superior Court on Friday for a hearing to update the judge on the status of his case, but he did not show up, according to the docket. The prosecutor didn’t ask for a bench warrant to arrest him for failing to appear, and the judge set another hearing for Sept. 23. A lawyer listed as counsel for Shroyer said that was a mistake and he was not involved in the case.