Federico Klein, who lives in the DC area and goes by the name Freddie, is the first known Trump administration political appointee to be arrested for participating in the siege. Federal authorities noted that Klein, who is also a former Trump campaign aide, had a top-secret security clearance at the time of the riot and resigned from the State Department at the end of the administration.
Investigators found multiple images of Klein in the riot allegedly using a police riot shield to open an entrance for rioters and fighting a police line for several minutes, according to his arrest affidavit. Klein wore a red “Make America Great Again” cap and later changed to a “United States Marine Corps” cap during the riot, investigators say.
Klein is charged with six criminal counts, including assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon, trespassing on Capitol grounds, and obstructing law enforcement and Congress. About 300 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the siege.
He will be incarcerated until at least March 9, when a longer hearing will be held for the judge to hear prosecutors’ arguments to keep him in custody and Klein’s responses through his attorneys.
“It’s really impossible to do anything for myself right now,” Klein said during his first court appearance on Friday, when the court argued that he would hire an attorney. He was represented by a public defender in court on Friday.
“I wonder if there is a place where I can be detained where there are no cockroaches crawling everywhere while I try to sleep,” Klein also told Judge Zia Faruqui. “I really haven’t slept at all, your honor.”
Faruqui told Klein that he is only in a place of temporary detention and that he will be transferred.
Klein worked at the State Department from 2017 to 2021 in the Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs office, according to the arrest record. At some point, he moved from that Western Hemisphere-focused office to the Freedom of Information Act unit, which processes requests for public records received by the department, according to multiple sources familiar with his work.
He also helped with the department’s transition team, a State Department spokesman said Friday.
The Trump campaign had paid him nearly $ 13,000 in 2016, the Federal Election Commission’s campaign financial records show.
The State Department said Friday that his resignation took effect on January 21, the typical departure date for those appointed by the Trump administration who stayed until the end of the Trump presidency.
Informants and witnesses eventually identified Klein to the FBI following his resignation from the state, after his image appeared on a law enforcement poster seeking information on unidentified rioters. In mid-February, a former co-worker of Klein at the State Department spoke with the FBI and a special diplomatic security agent for the Department, further identifying him in photos of the siege, according to his arrest record.
A State Department spokesperson referred questions about Klein’s case to the Justice Department, which is prosecuting him.
The lack of response from the State Department in the days after the insurrection was notable, even among Trump’s Cabinet.
After the riot, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used Twitter to condemn the rioters who invaded and injured police, stormed the Capitol and occupied the Senate chamber as lawmakers tried to formally mark the election victory of President-elect Joe Biden. . he criticized Trump for encouraging rioters, and sought to praise the president’s record during his final days in office.
“Look, what happened that day was terrible, and I have repeatedly said that people who engaged in this activity must be identified, prosecuted, and they are criminals and they must be treated as such,” Pompeo told Hugh Hewitt, a presenter for conservative radio. “But history will be reflected in the good work that this president and our administration have done.”
CNN’s Christina Carrega and Mary Kay Mallonee contributed to this report.