A former Trump administration State Department aide has been accused of charging a police line during the deadly Capitol assault when he allegedly used a confiscated riot shield in an attempt to breach the building’s doors, according to court documents.
Federico Klein, whose image was captured repeatedly on police body-worn cameras, is the first known Trump appointee to be swept up in the sprawling federal investigation. A Trump spokesman said he had no comment.
Klein made his first court appearance Friday when he was ordered to remain in custody pending a Tuesday detention hearing.
At the time of the Jan. 6 siege, according to court documents, Klein held a top secret security clearance at the State Department where he served in the Office of Brazilian and South Cone Affairs.
Federal authorities identified Klein, who also previously worked for the Trump campaign, from multiple photographs in which he was alternately wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap and a Marine Corps hat.
Beginning at 2:43 p.m. that day, authorities allege that Klein appeared in front of a mob clashing with officers near the Capitol’s west terrace, where rioters were attempting to push through to “two sets of doors.”
According to court documents, Klein and others refused to heed six separate directives from officers to back away. Instead, Klein allegedly “shoved” the shield into the door opening to prevent officers from securing the doors.
One photograph allegedly shows Klein, his fist clenched, attempting to breach the doors.
According to court documents, he also repeatedly called for reinforcements to maintain pressure on the police line.
“We need fresh people!” Klein allegedly called out during the struggle. “We need fresh people!”
Eventually, an officer used chemical spray, forcing Klein to move somewhere else, officials say.
Klein was arrested Thursday in Virginia and faces charges including obstructing Congress and assaulting officers using a dangerous weapon.
Klein became a staff assistant in the State Department shortly after Trump’s inauguration in 2017, according to a financial disclosure report. He resigned from his position on Jan. 19, the day before Joe Biden was sworn in as president and nearly two weeks after the attack, according to authorities.
One of Klein’s State Department coworkers helped authorities identify him, officials said.
Klein’s mother: ‘How in Lord’s name he got mixed up in this, I have no idea’
The suspect’s mother, Cecilia Klein, said Friday that her son’s arrest was “a huge shock.”
“I was watching like everybody else on Jan. 6 as those numb-nuts climbed the walls” of the Capitol, Klein said in an interview with USA TODAY. “It never occurred to me that Fred would be part of this.”
Some weeks after the siege, Klein said her son visited for dinner when she asked whether he was at the National Mall for the demonstration. She said that he acknowledged being there. Asked whether he was among the rioters who sought to breach of the Capitol, Klein said her son “denied it, flatly.”
“He’s a good kid, smart and honest – a Boy Scout type,” she said, adding that he served a stint in Iraq as a Marine.
“I wasn’t happy he was working for Trump,” Klein said, referring to his work for the Trump campaign in 2016.
“How in Lord’s name he got mixed up in this, I have no idea,” she said.
Ned Price, the State Department’s chief spokesman, declined comment on Klein’s arrest.
“This is a matter that’s being investigated by the FBI, and they are the appropriate agency to answer questions specific to the charges,” Price said.
At least five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the violence, and two other officers later killed themselves. More than 300 people have been charged with federal crimes.
A Department of State diplomatic security special agent interviewed by an FBI agent confirmed that Klein was colleague at the department. The Department of State official identified Klein in photos and video shown by the FBI, officials said.
Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen