New York woman charged for involvement in US Capitol riot in investigation that brought FBI to Alaska

Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 3:48 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2021 at 4:55 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A New York woman and her son have been charged in federal court for their involvement in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, after an investigation that led the FBI to search a woman’s home in Homer, Alaska.

The FBI have been searching for a woman shown to be inside the Capitol that day. That led them to Homer on the southern Kenai Peninsula where they searched the home of a Homer woman and her husband. The woman, Marilyn Hueper, told Alaska’s News Source at the time that it was a case of mistaken identity and that the agents told her they were there looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop, which was taken during the riot.

“And they said, ‘well, we’re looking for Nancy Pelosi’s laptop and we know you were in the building and you were in the room at the time,’” Hueper told Alaska’s News Source in April.

A search warrant obtained by Alaska’s News Source later on showed that the warrant allowed the FBI to search the home for electronics, Pelosi’s laptop and any other property taken from the Capitol.

The FBI provided Hueper with a photo of a woman they said was in the Capitol that day, which seemed to resemble her in appearance with a similar black coat.

The actual target of the FBI’s investigation is 55-year-old Maryann Mooney-Rondon of Watertown, New York. She and her son now face charges for their involvement in the riot, including theft of government property, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of New York.

Both Mooney-Rondon and her son, 23-year-old Rafael Rondon, “appeared in court on a criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia containing the following charges stemming from the January 6, 2021 incident at the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.,” according to the release.

The pair face a total of seven charges — one felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding, and six misdemeanor charges including disorderly conduct, entering and remaining in certain rooms inside the Capitol, and the theft charge.

According to the complaint, the mother and son admitted to investigators that they were the ones shown in photos obtained by the FBI that appeared to show them inside the capitol.

Also according to the complaint, they both admitted to investigators that they had assisted the man who actually took Pelosi’s laptop. Specifically, Mooney-Rondon told the FBI she had given either a scarf or her gloves to the man, who used them to take the laptop without touching it.

“I think he just didn’t want to touch it ... I mean that’s why I was like, we gotta get out of here, this isn’t right, I mean he scared the crap out of me,” Mooney-Rondon is quoted as saying in the complaint.

“While we were in the office, one of the (individuals), he was trying to rip the ethernet cords to one of the laptops, and he yelled at me and my mother to help him,” Rondon is quoted as telling investigators in the document. “And I was honestly a little bit afraid, because I didn’t know if he had anything on him ... So I assisted him a little bit, and that was probably stupid of me.”

According to the complaint document, the mother and son also admitted to taking to emergency escape hoods from the Capitol building.

Rondon also faces a separate charge of possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, which according to the release was found in his home.

The mother and son appeared in court on Friday, the release states, and were released “pending further court proceedings.”

Reached on Saturday, Hueper said she felt relieved at the news.

“I’m very glad to know that we all can recognize, and the FBI has basically admitted, that they were in the wrong place when they came to my home and handcuffed me and held me at gunpoint and interrogated me,” she said. “So that feels very good.”

“It’s like a cloud being lifted,” said her husband, Paul Hueper.

He said he’s not expecting the FBI to come back and apologize for their search of the couple’s home, but for their sake he said they don’t have to worry about dealing with the agency anymore.

“Now whether or not they’re willing to take us off of any kind of domestic terrorist list, and, you know, restore TSA pre-checks — all of the things that we lost — we’re unsure at this point where that stands, so we’ll just have to wait and see,” Paul Hueper said.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with quotes and information from Marilyn and Paul Hueper.

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