DERBY, Connecticut (AP) — A Connecticut alderman and mayoral candidate is pressing ahead with his campaign after being charged this week by federal prosecutors with illegally entering the U.S. Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Gino DiGiovanni Jr. was arraigned Tuesday on four federal misdemeanor charges, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds. He was not an alderman for the city of Derby at the time.
“I think the evidence that will be presented will show that I am innocent,” DiGiovanni, 42, told reporters outside U.S. District Court in New Haven. Hours later on his Facebook page, the candidate posted photos of him campaigning door to door. He wrote, “After a long day I’m still here for Derby. I will continue to put my heart and soul into this city.”
DiGiovanni, a first-term alderman, is challenging three-term Mayor and fellow Republican Richard Dziekan. DiGiovanni was recently endorsed by the local Republican town committee. Dziekan did not seek its backing.
The pair will face off in a Sept. 12 primary.
“When an individual is observed potentially breaking the law, they can expect to be called upon to account for their actions,” Dziekan said in a statement.
“Civilian online investigators” initially identified DiGiovanni entering the Capitol, according to a statement from federal prosecutors. The sleuths provided their research to NBC Connecticut, WVIT-TV, which later presented it to DiGiovanni at the conclusion of a public meeting.
DiGiovanni acknowledged he attended the rally for former President Donald Trump that day and was in the photographs taken inside the Capitol.
“I was there, I went inside there, and, you know, I didn’t damage or break anything. Obviously you got the pictures to prove it,” he told the reporter.
Connecticut was one of several states where legislation was proposed this year prohibiting people convicted of participating in an insurrection or rebellion against the U.S. from holding public office. Connecticut’s bill, which did not pass, would have prohibited those convicted of more serious crimes, including sedition, rebellion, insurrection or a felony related to one of those acts, from running for or holding public office.
The Associated Press