A New Hyde Park man who pulled open a door at the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, urging on the mob with a cry of "let's go," pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington, D.C. to interfering with law enforcement during a civil disorder, a felony.
Eric Gerwatowski, 32, faces a maximum of five years in prison, as well as potential financial penalties, when a federal judge sentences him March 2.
However, the sentencing guidelines for Gerwatowski, who has no criminal record, is zero to six months in jail, according to his plea agreement, which also requires him to pay $2,000 to the architect of the Capitol for damage incurred and fines ranging from $2,000 to $20,000.
"He accepts responsibility and is awaiting his sentence," said Bruce Barket, Gerwatowski's Garden City-based defense attorney. "We're hopeful he won't be incarcerated. He has a wife and a very young child and no one was injured as a result of his conduct. He was in the building for a total of about three minutes and then walked out."
Court records show Gerwatowski traveled from Long Island to Washington, D.C. to attend then-President Donald Trump's Jan. 6 rally, where Trump falsely disputed the outcome of the 2020 election and urged attendees to "walk down to the Capitol."
As a joint session of Congress prepared to count the electoral votes, Gerwatowski was at the front of a crowd just outside the Upper House doors, prosecutors said.
Just as Capitol Police closed the doors, Gerwatowski pulled one open and yelled to other rioters: “Let’s go!,” directing more rioters into the building, authorities said.
Once inside, Gerwatowski walked down a corridor and could be heard shouting “they’re raping kids and they’re shooting kids” to another rioter who was livestreaming the event, prosecutors said.
Surveillance video showed Gerwatowski leaving the Capitol building through the same doors after being inside for three minutes, according to court records.
Once outside, Gerwatowski was interviewed on camera, stating that the election had been stolen and “the commies are trying to steal the country.”
He was arrested at his New Hyde Park home on Feb. 8.
The FBI said it identified Gerwatowski from several photographs and a YouTube video, as well as tipsters who personally knew him.
Twitter users seeking to identify him called Gerwatowski #LordLongHair for his shoulder-length dirty blond locks.
The FBI also said Gerwatowski’s cellphone was at the Capitol on the day of the riot.
In the 22 months since the insurrection, nearly 900 individuals have been arrested for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol, including more than 275 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.