A Trump appointee, who was still employed at the State Department when he allegedly bashed police at the U.S. Capitol with a riot shield and egged on a crowd of insurrectionists, has been arrested for his role on Jan. 6.
Federico Klein, a 42-year-old State Department staff assistant with top security clearance, is facing a slew of charges, including unlawful entry and assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon, according to a criminal complaint first obtained by The New York Times.
Prosecutors allege Klein, who also worked on Trump’s 2016 campaign, “physically and verbally engaged with the officers holding the line” before assaulting one officer with a riot shield—and using that stolen police equipment to wedge open a door into the Capitol to allow insurrectionists inside.
“We need fresh people, need fresh people!” Klein, who is wearing a red MAGA hat, is heard yelling in a YouTube video as people stormed the building and police strained to hold back the crowd.
During his initial court appearance on Friday, Klein’s appetite for chaos had subsided. After Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui read Klein his charges, Klein made it known he wasn’t happy about the conditions in a D.C. jail.
“I wonder if there’s a place where I can stay in detention where I don’t have cockroaches crawling over me while I attempt to sleep... I mean, I really haven’t slept all that much, your honor. It would be nice if I could sleep in a place where there were not cockroaches everywhere,” Klein said, according to The Washington Post.
Prosecutors argued on Friday that Klein should be detained pending trial because he assaulted an officer. A federal defender, however, insisted that Klein’s charges don’t amount to a crime of violence and he should be released under appropriate conditions.
Klein’s arrest on Thursday night in Virginia, first reported by Politico, marked the first time a member of the Trump administration has faced charges in connection with the deadly siege. More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot that followed a speech by Trump in which he flogged the false claim that he had won the November 2020 election.
According to the complaint, Klein was identified by people who saw the FBI social-media campaign with photos of rioters at the Capitol. The FBI also noted that he still had top-secret clearance for his work in the office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs until his resignation on Jan. 19.
Another tipster flagged Klein's Facebook account to the feds, which was under the name “Freddie Klein,” according to court documents. On Klein’s Facebook page, he is seen in photos among a group covered in MAGA gear—and in another enjoying several Miller High Lifes.
According to a ProPublica database of Trump appointees, Klein worked as a special assistant in the Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs after joining the State Department on Jan. 22, 2017, where he was paid $66,510.
A LinkedIn profile identified as Klein’s also states he has been politically active in the Republican Party since at least 2008, when he began volunteering for campaigns. Klein worked for the Trump campaign just prior to going to work for the State Department.
Klein’s mother, Cecilia Klein, told Politico that her son had admitted to being in D.C. on Jan. 6—but told her that he was only “on the Mall. That’s what he told me.”
“Fred’s politics burn a little hot... but I’ve never known him to violate the law.… While I believe, as he said, he was on the Mall that day, I don’t have any evidence, nor will I ever ask him, unless he tells me, where he was after he was on the Mall,” she added.