SANTA ANA (CNS) - A Huntington Beach man was arrested today on federal charges of participating in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Mark Steven Simon, who is charged with misdemeanor counts of entering restricted buildings or grounds, unlawful activities on Capitol grounds anddisorderly conduct, made his initial court appearance this afternoon in Santa Ana before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Autumn Spaeth, who set his bond at $25,000.
Pretrial services officials had recommended $100,000 bail and objected to letting Simon's live-in girlfriend sign for the bond, as did Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabe Podesta, who noted the woman went to the Capitol with Simon and may yet be charged herself.
The girlfriend's devices were seized along with Simon's when the defendant was arrested, Podesta said.
Simon, 49, was arrested about 6 a.m. at 6551 Warner Ave., according to the FBI.
An FBI agent was tipped to Simon through a post atwww.orangejuiceblog.com, which included video and images of the riot that was aimed at preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the Nov. 3 election, according to an FBI affidavit dated Jan. 21 detailing the allegations against Simon.
The agent said the video showed Simon using his phone to record a group of rioters pushing their way into the Capitol while a law enforcement official was trying to keep the mob out. At one point in the video, the agent alleged that Simon turned the camera back on himself and exclaimed, “In the Capitol baby, yeah!'' and “2021 Donald Trump!''
The video was initially posted on the Facebook page of someone who was with Simon at the Capitol with the comment “Peacefully Storming the Capital'' and with a hashtag of “StopTheSteal,'' according to the agent, who said the post had been deleted, but surfaced on orangejuiceblog.com.
The agent sent the blog post to Huntington Beach police detectives, who recognized Simon and his companion, who was characterized as a “known activist'' in the city, according to the affidavit.
Simon's girlfriend “potentially could be a defendant at a later stage,'' Podesta told Spaeth. “The investigation is very much ongoing as to what happened in the Capitol.''
Simon has a lengthy criminal history involving driving under the influence and drug usage, Podesta alleged. Simon has been accused of “frequent marijuana usage and methamphetamine usage,'' and “less frequent cocaine usage,'' according to the prosecutor.
Simon's attorney, Amy Karlan of the Public Defender's Office, said her client's girlfriend should be allowed to back the bond because she has not been charged. Karlan said $25,000 “is a significant amount to whoever signs that bond.''
Simon must remain in the Southern California area and has to give up his passports. His next hearing will be a virtual one before D.C. federal court officials on Feb. 3.
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