Ex-Houston police officer Tam Dinh Pham arrested for alleged participation in Capitol riot

That’s when an FBI agent confirmed him his personal deleted pictures and movies from contained in the Rotunda on Jan. 6, in line with court docket paperwork.

Confronted with the picture proof, Pham then allegedly admitted to climbing over torn-down fences to get inside. However nonetheless, he insisted his causes had been pure: He simply needed the uncommon alternative to view “historic artwork,” investigators stated.

Pham, 48, was arrested on Wednesday on expenses of illegal entry of the Capitol and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. He’s one among greater than a dozen off-duty police officers underneath investigation for allegedly collaborating within the violent and chaotic riot earlier this month.

Pham resigned on Jan. 14 from the Houston Police Division, Police Chief Artwork Acevedo introduced on Twitter. He had labored for the division for about 18 years, in line with court docket paperwork.

In a statement on Wednesday acknowledging Pham’s arrest, Acevedo stated that the police division labored with the FBI to research Pham’s involvement within the riot. Houston police are actually auditing all of Pham’s arrests, together with reviewing body-camera footage, “to make sure there are not any irregularities,” Acevedo stated.

The federal investigators interviewed Pham in his Richmond, Tex., dwelling on Jan. 12. After denying that he’d gone contained in the Capitol through the riots, a particular agent requested to evaluation the pictures in his telephone.

Though there have been no photos dated Jan. 6, the agent checked Pham’s “deleted” folder and located movies and pictures of him contained in the Rotunda, together with one shot of him posing in entrance of a statue of former president Gerald Ford affixed with a “Trump 2020” flag, federal officers stated.

As soon as the agent confirmed Pham the digital proof that he was, certainly, contained in the Capitol, she reminded him that it was unlawful to misinform a federal agent.

That’s when Pham modified his story, federal brokers stated, whereas insisting he simply needed to see artwork within the Capitol.

He added that he was not a member of any social media teams that promoted the rally and that he didn’t meet up with any of Donald Trump’s supporters earlier than the occasion. Pham additionally stated he didn’t carry any weapons to Washington and that he “had no intention of committing any act of violence or vandalism on the Capitol,” in line with court docket paperwork.

When the rally was over, Pham stated he observed folks strolling towards the Capitol and adopted the gang. He then admitted to getting into the constructing, including that he noticed the law enforcement officials guarding the Capitol however “didn’t have interaction with them,” in accordance federal investigators.

Pham advised investigators that he stayed contained in the Rotunda for 10 to fifteen minutes, taking photos and movies, earlier than leaving. The metadata in his telephone backed up that story, investigators stated.

In an announcement to NBC News, Pham’s lawyer, Nicole Hochglaube, stated that Pham cooperated with the FBI and that he’s “deeply saddened to be related to the home terrorists who attacked our Capitol on Jan. 6″ and “believes strongly within the rule of legislation, and that the election selecting President Biden was honest and free.”

It’s unclear when Pham is due again in court docket.

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