A federal jury in Washington yesterday convicted a Uniontown welder on multiple charges of assaulting police with pepper spray during the Capitol riot in support of Donald Trump’s repeated election lies.

The jury found Peter Schwartz, already a convicted felon, guilty on 11 counts.

Two other rioters who went on trial with him on charges of similar violence against police were also found guilty.

Schwartz, who is from Kentucky but living and working in Uniontown, is among some 25 people from Western Pennsylvania charged in the insurrection.

He had boasted online after the riots that he should be in federal prison for what he did that day.

Considering his felony convictions, that outcome is now certain.

Prior to trial, he and his lawyer had tried multiple tactics to damage the government’s case, including asking for a change of venue, arguing that the FBI illegally seized his cellphone and requesting that his case be severed from that of his co-defendants.

None of it worked, and the trial proceeded last week and this week before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta.

As with most of the other Capitol riot cases, now numbering more than 900, the FBI and federal prosecutors had a trove of video evidence against Schwartz and the others. It’s likely that no large-scale crime scene in U.S. history has been better recorded, with many rioters filming themselves and then later posting videos on social media or bragging about what they did in texts.

Schwartz, a traveling welder, had stormed the Capitol with his wife, Shelly Stallings. The Pittsburgh FBI arrested him on Feb. 4, 2021, at his rented house in Uniontown.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Schwartz acted in concert with Markus Maly of Virginia and Jeff Brown of California during a violent encounter with police near the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol.

While at the front of the police line, Schwartz threw a folding chair at police. He then stole police bags full of spray canisters and handed them out to others in the mob, including his wife, to use against the police.

Prosecutors said Schwartz, wielding a large spray canister and carrying a wooden baton, “indiscriminately” sprayed retreating officers.

At about that time, Maly pushed through the crowd toward a group of police trying to escape onto the inaugural stage and sprayed them with his own canister. Schwartz and Maly then followed officers into the tunnel, where Brown and other rioters joined them in further attacks.

As the crowd heaved against the police line, Schwartz passed a spray canister from Maly, who then passed it to Brown. Brown tried to use it but couldn’t figure out how to activate the nozzle. He handed it back to Schwartz, who showed him how to use it and passed it back.

Brown then sprayed police.

After the riot, Schwartz went on Facebook to say that Jan. 6 was the “opening of a war.”

Various texts to friends also revealed him bragging about throwing the chair at police, instigating the violence and then stealing police pepper spray.

“I started that,” he said in one text. “I stole their [expletive] and used it on them.”

Shelly Stallings had been charged along with him but pleaded guilty in August. She’s awaiting sentencing.

Schwartz remains in U.S. custody pending sentencing. Maly and Brown had been free during the trial, but the judge ordered them jailed after the verdict. No sentencing dates were set.

Torsten covers the courts for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at jtorsteno@gmail.com.

Torsten Ove

Torsten covers the courts for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at jtorsteno@gmail.com.