Former MDOT employee is first Missouri defendant to plead guilty in Capitol riot case

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A University of Missouri engineering graduate pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to a misdemeanor charge in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Nicholas Reimler, 29, of Valley Park in St. Louis County, entered a guilty plea to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, making him the first Missouri defendant to plead guilty in the Capitol riot case. Fourteen of the more than 600 suspects arrested in the case are from Missouri.

Reimler, who attended the hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia via video and repeatedly responded to U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss’s questions with “Yes, Your Honor” and “Yes, sir,” is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison, one year of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.

As part of the plea agreement, the government dropped two other misdemeanor charges against Reimler: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. Reimler also agreed to pay $500 restitution for damage done to the Capitol building. Assistant U.S. Attorney Janani Iyengar told the court that damage to the Capitol from the riot totaled $1.4 million.

Reimler, who was identified as Photograph 39 on a document of suspects widely distributed by the FBI, was turned in by a Facebook friend who reported him to a tip-line six days after the riot, according to the charging document. Another Facebook friend provided FBI agents with screen shots of Reimler’s posts about attending the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C.

The court filing said that still images showed a man dressed in a green cap, blue-and-white jacket and wearing a white “TRUMP” flag as a cape entering the Capitol building along with other rioters.

In addition to those images, the document said, the U.S. Capitol Police identified video of Reimler entering the Capitol, moving through the hallways to an area known as the ‘Crypt’ and then exiting the building.

On Jan. 10, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Tip-line received an anonymous tip that identified Reimler from social media posts, according to the document. The tipster said Reimler “was posting on Snapchat and Facebook that he was inside of the capital on Wednesday.”

The filing said the FBI Tip-line received a tip on Jan. 20 from “Witness 1,” who said that Reimler was the person pictured in Photograph 39 from the FBI’s Capitol riot photos.

“He posted many times on social media pictures of himself inside the Capitol on Jan. 6th and posted several times about going to D.C.,” the tipster wrote. “In the pictures attached you can see him in the exact same outfit (found on his Facebook).”

A picture from Reimler’s Facebook page appeared to show him wearing the same jacket and turquoise hat while on a ski trip, the document said.

The FBI interviewed Witness 1, who had known Reimler for three to four years and said the two were Facebook friends. Witness 1 said it was “very obvious” that the FBI photo was of Reimler, the document said.

The FBI also interviewed Witness 2, another of Reimler’s Facebook friends.

“Witness 2 stated Reimler had posted several conservative political posts prior to the Capitol riots and Witness 2 recalled a publicly posted Facebook conversation about Reimler attending the rally on January 6, 2021, and was able to provide screenshots of that conversation,” the filing said.

The screenshots indicated that on Dec. 30, Reimler shared a post from former President Donald Trump that said, “JANUARY SIXTH, SEE YOU IN DC!”

“You going?” someone asked.

“Maybe,” Reimler responded. “Are you?” Then later, “I’m going. Leaving Tuesday evening, coming back Thursday night.”

“Are you driving?” the friend asked.

“With 2 guys from work,” he replied.

Reimler graduated from the University of Missouri in 2014 with a degree in civil and environmental engineering, according to his now-deleted Facebook page. Records show that between 2014 and early 2018, he worked for the Missouri Department of Transportation as a materials inspector.

His Facebook page also said he started working in quality control for Fred Weber Inc. in Maryland Heights in January 2018. In March 2019, it showed, he accepted a position at the company’s San Marcos Sand & Gravel location in Texas. He transferred back to the St. Louis area in August 2020 to work as a technical services manager.

Ethan Corlija, a St. Louis attorney representing Reimler, told The Star in March that his client was “a fine young man” whose charges were less serious than many of the hundreds who had been arrested. He added that Reimler was not associated with any extremist groups.

“He’s an engineer, he’s very well educated, he came from a very good family and he’s been taught throughout his life to respect the rule of law,” Corlija said. “It’s not a situation where he’s affiliated with any group that may be prone to violence. He’s the polar opposite of that.”

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