The former CEO of a Schaumburg tech firm on Tuesday became the first known defendant from Illinois to plead guilty in federal court to his role in the U.S. Capitol breach.
Bradley Rukstales, 53, was the first person from Illinois to face federal charges as part of the investigation into the U.S. Capitol breach. The feds have since charged 12 additional Illinoisans in connection with the riot, which has led to what they say will likely be the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history.
Rukstales pleaded guilty by video conference Tuesday to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building and faces up to six months in prison. He was discovered amid members of a crowd inside the U.S. Capitol who were making loud noises, kicking chairs and throwing an unknown substance at officers, according to a charging document filed Jan. 7.
Officers at the Capitol had ordered members of the crowd to leave but they responded by shouting and cursing at police, according to the document. Six people, including Rukstales, were near the front of the crowd and refused to leave, it alleged.
Four others members of that group have also pleaded guilty, records show.
During Tuesday’s hearing, a prosecutor told the judge that Rukstales tossed a chair at retreating Capitol officers, who were “dozens of feet away,” and had to be dragged away from a melee by officers.
Before he pleaded guilty, Rukstales told the judge, “I was very careful when I was with the chair to make sure there was nobody within any striking distance and did not purposely throw it at any individual at the time.”
Rukstales also apologized in a statement in January. “In a moment of extremely poor judgement following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside,” he said.
“My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so,” Rukstales said. “I condemn the violence and destruction that took place in Washington.”
Rukstales had been CEO of the Schaumburg tech firm Cogensia but was fired by the board.