By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday convicted a Confederate flag-toting man and his son of charges that they stormed the U.S. Capitol together to obstruct Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden delivered the verdict from the bench after hearing two days of testimony without a jury for the trial of Delaware residents Kevin Seefried and his adult son, Hunter.
McFadden convicted both Kevin and Hunter Seefried of a felony count: obstruction of an official proceeding, the joint session of Congress for certifying the Electoral College vote.
The judge also convicted both men of misdemeanor charges that they entered a restricted area of the Capitol and illegally demonstrated inside the building. But he acquitted Hunter Seefried of other misdemeanor charges for clearing a shard of glass from a broken window at the Capitol.
McFadden, whom President Donald Trump nominated in 2017, presided over two previous bench trials for Capitol riot defendants. He acquitted one of all charges and partially acquitted another.
Widely published photographs showed Kevin Seefried carrying a Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol after he and Hunter Seefried, then 22, entered the building through a broken window.
FBI agents said they didn’t find any evidence linking Kevin Seefried or his son to any far-right extremist groups. Kevin Seefried told an agent that he didn’t view the Confederate flag as a symbol of racist hate.
The Seefrieds’ trial included the first public testimony of Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who has been lauded for his bravery during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by a mob of Trump supporters. Goodman led a group of rioters away from the Senate chamber as senators and then-Vice President Mike Pence were being evacuated. He also directed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, to turn around and head away from the mob.