A Florida man who was arrested during the riot at the Capitol earlier this year is asking to be released on bond, claiming that he never engaged in any violence and he was just following former President Donald Trump’s directions.
In a newly filed motion, attorneys for 35-year-old Michael Curzio, of Summerfield, claim that the Capitol had already been breached and by the time he made his way inside, “the doors were already open and police officers were letting the crowd in.”
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Curzio is not accused of any violence or destructive acts on the grounds. His attorneys claim he “milled about” once inside and that his only crime was refusing to leave when Capitol officers told him to do so.
He’s facing charges of unlawful entry, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and violent entry, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, entering and remaining in a restricted building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
Records show he was originally arrested during the riot on Jan. 6 then taken back into custody on Jan. 14.
A federal statement of facts produced by the United States Capitol Police shows Curzio managed to make his way to the upper level of the United States Capitol Visitor Center near the door to the House Atrium.
Curzio’s attorneys state that because he was not violent toward officers and was not among the first rioters to push past police, he should be granted bond.
“Mr. Curzio concedes he was on the Capitol grounds and building to protest along with hundreds of other protesters and was merely following the directions of then-President Trump, who has billed himself as the country’s chief law enforcement officer. Although some in the group he was with may have engaged in violent conduct towards police officers, there is no allegation that he personally did so,” the motion read.
It further states that Curzio was unable to leave because other rioters were blocking the exits.
“On January 6, 2021, Mr. Curzio set out to exercise his First Amendment right to protest. Unfortunately, he listened to Donald Trump and others and took the fateful decision to march to the Capitol grounds. Mr. Curzio is not a member of any right-wing fringe group or other violent organization and, besides his one prior conviction, has no record of violence or criminality that would indicate that he poses a danger to the community if released,” the motion read.
Records show Curzio served eight years in prison on a charge of attempted first-degree murder and was released in February 2019. His attorneys claim that arrest stems from Curzio’s attempt to defend a friend who was being abused.
If bond is granted, Curzio would like to be placed on general supervision and report weekly by phone. He’s agreed to turn over his passport and not possess any guns.
Curzio is one of several Florida men to be arrested, including a Sanford firefighter and a local Proud Boys organizer.
Five people were killed as Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building while Congress was preparing to certify Electoral College votes to cement President Joe Biden’s win. Trump was impeached for a second time in the House on charges that he incited the deadly riot but he has since been acquitted.
Anyone with information about someone who was involved in the riot can find details on how to report them here.
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