Costumed man dubbed ‘Conan O’Riot’ charged in Jan. 6 Capitol attack


Derek Nelson is seen near the Washington Monument and inside the U.S. Capitol (inset) on Jan. 6, 2021 (images via FBI court filing).

A tricorn-hatted man who online sleuths dubbed “Conan O’Riot” because of his physical resemblance to the beloved comedian and late-night talk show host has been charged with joining the mob of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Derek Nelson, 30, of Illinois, has been charged with four misdemeanors in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. According to federal prosecutors, Nelson and co-defendant Derek Dodder of Las Vegas were among the thousands who illegally entered the Capitol building as Congress was preparing to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win.

As first reported by NBC News, online “Sedition Hunters” tagged Nelson with the nickname “Conan O’Riot” because of his physical resemblance to the comedian.

It also appears that Nelson had dressed up for the occasion.

As federal filings show, Nelson wore a “brown tricorn hat along with a blue double-breasted button coat and red or maroon undershirt with a white scarf around his neck” as he marched down a street in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. Completing what appears to be an attempt to recreate a Revolutionary War-era look was an American flag attached to a wooden pole — albeit one bearing 50 stars, not 13 — which he carried in his right hand.

By the time he reached the Capitol, however, he appeared to have lost the hat and put on a pair of ski goggles. He was also pictured in the Rotunda with a “pink respirator mask” around his neck.

“Dodder and Nelson approached the U.S. Capitol building through the northwest scaffolding and Upper West Terrace, and entered the building via the Senate Wing at approximately 2:16 p.m.,” the affidavit says. Dodder was pictured entering through a smashed-out window while Nelson went through a door. The timing of their entry puts them among the first wave of rioters who breached the building three minutes earlier.

They stayed inside for quite some time. They first visited the Capitol crypt until around 2:27 p.m. before being spotted in the Rotunda at 2:33 p.m. They left the building for a final time at around 3:04 p.m., the affidavit says.

Before going to the Capitol, Nelson and Dodder had apparently agreed to give a recorded interview to “an unknown individual with a female voice” near the Washington Monument.

“Gentlemen, why are you here today?” she asked, according to the affidavit.

“To start a revolution,” Nelson replied. “Why are you here?

Nelson has a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 17.

Read the statement of facts below.

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