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WNY father, son plead guilty in connection with US Capitol riot

William Michael Sywak from Hamburg and William Jason Sywak of Arcade, were both arraigned Wednesday before Judge Rudolph Contreras.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A father and son from Western New York have both pleaded guilty in connection with the U.S. Capitol riot attacks on January 6, 2021.

William Michael Sywak from Hamburg and William Jason Sywak of Arcade were both arraigned Wednesday before Judge Rudolph Contreras. Both pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building, a class B misdemeanor.

In a statement provided by the court, William Michael Sywak admitted that he and his son entered the U.S. Capitol without permission, and stayed 20 minutes before leaving. The statement goes on to say that William Michael Sywak falsely reported to federal agents that he and his son had not been inside, when he was interviewed three weeks after the incident.

In William Jason Sywak's statement to the court, he admitted that he went into the U.S. Capitol with his father and took some photos and videos on his cellphone, which he shared online before leaving. After leaving the building, William Jason Sywak joined a group of rioters close to the police line, then made his way up the stairs leading to the east side of the Capitol. While on the steps, William Jason Sywak took more video of rioters attempting to breach the doors leading to the Capitol Rotunda.

According to the statement, after returning home, William Jason Sywak described his experience at the riot to an associate saying it was awesome and that people were handing him pepper spray.

Both are scheduled to appear in court for sentenced on June 6, 2022. While federal sentencing guidelines call for a maximum sentence of six months of imprisonment, five years probation and a fine of up to $5,000, the plea agreement stipulates that sentencing guidelines will not apply and the sentence will be at the discretion of the judge.

William Michael Sywak and William Jason Sywak are both out on personal recognizance bonds with consent to appear by video teleconference.

Several other Western New Yorkers have court dates this month. Some have already pleaded guilty and are waiting to find out what their sentences will be just like the Sywak men.

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