Source: Google News
Mike Carter / The Seattle Times
A Puyallup couple have been charged with illegally entering the U.S. Capitol and engaging in disruptive behavior during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington, D.C.
Scott Roy Christensen, 49, and his wife, Holly Dionne Christensen, 44, are named in charges unsealed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia late last month. They have been ordered to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge Thursday to enter pleas, according to the court docket.
Christensen is a former Realtor who worked in California and Colorado before moving to Puyallup, where he sold real estate and later became a pastor at the Renovo Church of Christ in Tacoma in 2015. Washington business records indicate the church closed earlier this year. According to records, he also worked as an associate youth pastor at the Rainier View Christian Church in Tacoma.
The alleged crimes are misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000.
According to the charges, FBI agents used cellphone data, Capitol surveillance video, news footage and law enforcement body-camera video as evidence against the Christensens, who according to the charges had attended the “Stop the Steal” rally where President Donald Trump spoke beforehand.
The charges said Scott Christensen and his wife were spotted that afternoon in the Capitol Rotunda where he was captured on police body camera video conversing with an officer.
“Dude, I’m from Seattle, we invented this stuff,” Christensen allegedly told the officer, apparently referring to the annual May Day protests, the takeover of a Capitol Hill neighborhood during the 2020 protests over the killing of George Floyd, and the 1999 World Trade Organization riots.
The charges, outlined in a 27-page statement of probable cause, include more than a dozen photographs of individuals the FBI says it has identified as Scott and Holly Christensen.
Video from MSNBC’s coverage of the attack on the Capitol showed the couple walking directly behind a reporter’s stand-up shot outside the building.
The charges say FBI agents talked to Scott Christensen’s former supervisor at a real estate company, who confirmed Scott Christensen had attended the “Stop the Steal” rally, and video posted on the social media site Parler allegedly shows the couple marching near the Washington Monument. That video has since been pulled off the site.
Thousands of protesters marched on the Capitol that afternoon following a speech by Trump in an effort to prevent Congress from ratifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Five people died in the ensuing mayhem.
The FBI has mounted the largest investigation in the agency’s history to identify the individuals who forced their way into the Capitol, and hundreds have been charged. At least a dozen Washington residents are among them, including Proud Boy leader Ethan Nordean, who is charged with conspiracy and sedition.
The Christensens were seen on surveillance footage in the Rotunda and in second- and fourth-floor hallways, court records state. The couple were mostly identified taking photos and videos, and Scott Christensen was communicating on a walkie-talkie and carrying a long white stick.
At one point, he allegedly asked a Capitol police officer, “Which amendment are you protecting now?”
The charges say the couple remained inside the Capitol for more than an hour until they were escorted out by law enforcement.
In June, three members of another Puyallup family were arrested in connection with the insurrection, including one man charged with committing violence on the Capitol grounds.