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2 Lycoming County residents plead guilty in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Two Lycoming County residents have pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of demonstrating or parading in a restricted building during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Mark A. Aungst, 47, of South Williamsport, and Tammy A. Bronsburg, 51, of Williamsport, entered the pleas Monday to District of Columbia Judge Reggie B. Walton and he set their sentencings for Sept. 27, Pennlive stated.

Each could face up to six months in prison or five years of probation and a fine of $5,000.

The plea agreements call for each to pay $500 in restitution as their share of the damage to the Capitol. Walton said they better have good reasons why they should avoid jail, Pennlive reported.

Aungst and Bronsburg were among those who traveled by bus to Washington for then President Trump’s “stop the steal” rally. They then joined others and marched to the Capitol, Josh Miller, special agent with the FBI, stated in an affidavit.

Bronsburg was seen on cell phone video near the north entrance door and inside wearing a blue Trump flag around her shoulders. Aungst was wearing a Trump baseball cap and was seen on the bus making a thumbs up gesture. They bragged about being inside the capitol building on the return bus trip, the affidavit stated.

U.S. Attorney Mona Lee M. Furst said the evidence would show Aungst and Bronsburg entered the Capitol through the Senate fire door. The breach occurred while then Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over the counting of the electoral votes from each state.

Infamous day

Aungst and Bronsburg traveled knowingly and willfully joining and encouraging a crowd of individuals who forcibly entered the Capitol and impeded, disrupted, and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, the affidavit stated.

That infamous day, a joint session of Congress convened with members of the House and Senate in separate chambers to certify the vote count for the Electoral College of the 2020 Presidential election, which occurred Nov. 3, 2020.

The joint session began at 1 p.m. and shortly thereafter, by about 1:30 p.m the House and Senate adjourned to separate chambers to resolve a particular objection.

The vice president was present and presiding, first in the joint session, and then in the Senate chamber.

As the proceedings continued a large crowd gathered outside of the building and certification proceedings were under way. Members of the Capitol Police attempted to maintain order and keep the crowd from entering, however, about 2 p.m., individuals in the crowd forced entry into the Capitol, including breaking windows and assaulting members of the police, as others in the crowd encouraged and assisted those acts.

At about 2:20 p.m., members of Congress were instructed to evacuate the chambers. The joint session was suspended until shortly after 8 p.m. Pence remained in the Capitol from the time he was evacuated from the Senate chamber until the sessions resumed.

What led to their identification?

The following day, an officer with the Pennsylvania State Police interviewed a witness and law enforcement learned that the witness may have information about the incident from a retired law enforcement officer who is a friend of the witness, Miller stated.

During the interview, the witness informed the retired officer about who organized the bus trip via Facebook to go to the rally. The witness said that 55 people were on the trip including Aungst and Bronsburg.

Aungst was the last person to join the bus trip because he was on standby in case someone else dropped out. Bronsburg delayed the bus departure because of waiting at a different location than where the bus pickup occurred.

Further, Aungst and Bronsburg delayed the bus’s departure after the rally by about one hour and were the last two trip participants to return to the bus.

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