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Elias Irizarry at the U.S Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021.

Elias Irizarry at the U.S Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021. (U.S. Attorney’s Office/TNS)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Tribune News Service) — A cadet at South Carolina’s military college The Citadel and his alleged accomplice have been given a Jan. 3, 2023, trial date in the case brought against them by the federal government in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

On Wednesday, U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan gave Elias Irizarry, of York County, a chance to finish his junior year fall semester, which ends in December. Irizarry had put off a decision on whether to go to trial or plead guilty numerous times, delays that allowed him to complete his sophomore year.

Chutkan indicated it would be a trial by jury.

Irizarry, a Trump supporter who sported a red “Make America Great Again” hat during the riot, and his alleged accomplice, Grayson Sherill, have both declined plea deals for lesser charges from the government.

In December, they were indicted on revamped charges by a federal grand jury.

Irizarry faces eight misdemeanor charges, including violent entry and disorderly conduct at the Capitol.

Sherill, who lives across the North Carolina-South Carolina state line in Gaston County, faces a felony charge of assaulting an officer along with the same various misdemeanor charges that Irizarry faces.

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Another man arrested with them, Elliot Bishai, has already pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in late June.

Bishai and Irizarry were both in the Marine Corps JROTC at Nation Ford High School in Fort Mill before graduating in 2020. All three men were in a Gastonia, N.C., unit of the Civil Air Patrol at the time of the riot.

In total, 16 South Carolinians have been charged for their involvement in the Capitol riot, seven of whom have pleaded guilty.

Judge denied cadet’s summer abroad request

Evidence against Irizarry and Sherill, who were turned in to the FBI by tipsters, includes numerous photos and videos, according to court records.

Bishai pleaded guilty to entering a restricted area in the Capitol on April 25.

He faces up to one year in prison on the misdemeanor conviction. An uncontested statement of fact from Bishai’s guilty plea stated Sherill, Irizarry and Bishai went together to former President Donald Trump’s pre-riot Jan. 6 speech.

At the Capitol, Sherill and Irizarry each had a metal pole in their hands, the statement said.

With Irizarry, Bishai then followed the mob through a broken window next to the U.S. Senate wing and entered a conference room, where he sat in a chair. Irizarry and Bishai then went to the Capitol Crypt that has statues, where Bishai took pictures of Irizarry, the statement of fact said.

They then entered the Capitol Rotunda, where Bishai and Irizarry climbed on top of statues and took selfies with their cellphones, the court statement of fact stated.

Thousands of Trump supporters motivated by false widespread voter claims stormed on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the same day Congress was scheduled to formally count the electoral college votes that would ultimately declare President Joe Biden the 2020 election winner. The riot forced Congress to stop their vote, and caused members of Congress to flee and injured more than 100 police officers. Congress eventually returned to session and certified Biden’s victory.

This spring, Irizarry asked the judge if he could travel for three weeks to Europe near the Russian-Estonian border, visiting sensitive NATO and U.S. installations on a Citadel summer abroad program.

But, in May, Chutkan denied Irizarry permission to leave the country, saying he had rejected a government plea offer while not trying in any way to move his case forward. The government’s plea offer was made in December.

”Mr. Irizarry needs to re-examine his priorities,” Chutkan said. ”He is facing federal charges in one of the most serious and consequential actions in this country over 100 years.”

Typically, criminal defendants in state and federal cases must surrender their passports and get permission from a judge to travel outside their state and especially abroad.

Irizarry’s effort to visit Estonia was not discussed during Wednesday’s hearing.

©2022 The State.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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