A former Carnegie Mellon University computer science student is asking for probation when he gets sentenced next month for entering the U.S. Capitol with four pals during the insurrection and wandering around for half an hour.
Thomas Carey, 22, a software engineer who according to his lawyer already has a job with Amazon lined up after graduating this month, is set to be sentenced June 6 on misdemeanor charges of parading in a Capitol building.
He and his Maryland lawyer, Allen Orenberg, are asking for a year of unsupervised probation and community service for his crimes, saying he didn’t fight with cops or damage any property.
Federal prosecutors are requesting two months behind bars and three years of probation.
Carey, a New York City native raised in Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island, entered the Capitol with four friends. The other four had met at a right-wing America First rally, although Carey did not attend, according to Orenberg.
Prosecutors said he was previously involved with the organization.
Carey and one of those friends, Jon Lizak, drove to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 4, 2021, to attend then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally and met with two others, Paul Lovley and Gabriel Chase. Carey didn’t meet up with the fourth friend, Joseph Brody, until the morning of Jan. 6, his lawyer said.
The five entered the Capitol at 2:16 p.m.
Carey followed his friends, Orenberg said, but said Brody was at times separated from them. Brody, for example, walked into the Senate Chamber, but Carey didn’t follow him inside, Orenberg said.
Carey left the building at about 2:50. He’d been inside for 34 minutes.
“After watching video clips of January 6th after the fact, he regrets that he was any part of it,” Orenberg said.
But he said Carey did not join with violent protesters who attacked police, he wasn’t part of any organizing groups, and he doesn’t “subscribe to any far-right political views.”
Video shows him and the others near then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office, but Orenberg said Carey had no idea where he was in the Capitol building and was mostly led around by Brody, the most aggressive of the bunch.
The FBI identified Carey in part through his mother’s social media profile, which showed a picture of him, Chase and Lizak on a hike. Agents later linked Carey’s phone with a Venmo account connected to the others.
The Pittsburgh FBI set up surveillance on him in Oakland on Sept. 1 and arrested him two weeks later.
The U.S. attorney’s office says Carey deserves jail for accessing sensitive areas of the Capitol and standing by while one of his friends, Brody, rammed a cop with a bike rack outside the building.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Huynh said Carey, who told the FBI that he had been involved with America First, admitted to agents that he contributed to the chaos of the day.
Huynh said that the government has taken into consideration Carey’s lack of criminal history and his quick resolution of his case, having pleaded guilty, and recommends 60 days in jail.
Carey is one of about two dozen people living in Western Pennsylvania to have been charged in the insurrection. Overall, more than 1,000 people across the U.S., from every state, have been arrested. The FBI is hunting for more.
Torsten covers the courts for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but he's currently on strike. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.