Hector Vargas, a controversial self-styled homeless activist, who posted photos from inside the Capitol Building during the January 6, 2021 insurrection, is preparing for trial, according to documents filed on Friday.
On the day of the Capitol takeover, Vargas placed himself in the thick of the melee via a series of social media posts. In one Facebook post, Vargas wrote “WE THE PEOPLE TOOK OVER THE U.S. CAPITOL. #HOLDTHELINE.” In a video post in “selfie mode” Vargas filmed himself in the Capitol and said, “We took over this motherfucker … we took over this fucking capitol, tell them.”
Now, additional details and photos have emerged in documents jointly filed by the U.S. Attorney and Vargas’s lawyer.
“The government alleges that on January 6, 2021, the defendant entered the restricted area of the Capitol grounds on the west side of the Capitol complex. The defendant then went to the West Plaza, where he encountered physical barricades, police officers, and chemical irritants, and yet remained illegally on the grounds. The defendant then made his way to the East side of the Capitol, where he entered the building through the East Rotunda doors and pushed through a line of police officers into the Rotunda. The defendant left the building after approximately 7 minutes, but live-streamed on Facebook from the building before doing so.”
In March, Vargas’s court appointed lawyer, Dwight E. Crawley, asked to be removed from the case, stating that he and Vargas had “had numerous conversations” and that Vargas did “not concur” with his advice or legal strategy. Vargas did not, Crawley said, believe that he was “working in his best interest.” They both agreed that the relationship could not be “salvaged.”
In April, court appointed attorney Paul F. Enzinna took over for Crawley.
Vargas’s trial in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia is set for December 5.
The Jersey City Times has collected a series of social media posts and photos documenting Vargas’s thoughts on Donald Trump, the election, and the Capitol takeover.
Vargas is charged with Entering or Remaining in a Restricted Building; Disorderly or Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building; Violent Entry or Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building; and Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building. The charges carry a maximum sentence of a fine and one year in prison.
In 2020, Vargas, a Marine Corps veteran, was profiled by Jersey City Times for his work delivering meals to the homeless. The article focused on several of Jersey City’s “unsung heroes” during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At the time, several of Vargas’s neighbors, who questioned his sincerity and temperament, were critical of JCT for including him in the article. Some accused Vargas of stealing donations meant for the homeless. Councilman-at-large Daniel Rivera, however, came to Vargas’s defense telling JCT that “he can be rough around the edges and very outspoken, but his heart is genuine.”