NEWBURGH, NY — The owner of a Newburgh tattoo parlor who defied Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order closing non-essential businesses early in the coronavirus pandemic was accused of seditious conspiracy for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Roberto Minuta, 37, and 10 other people were indicted Wednesday and charged by the United States Department of Justice.
The indictment said that Minuta and 10 others “did knowingly conspire, confederate and agree, with other persons known and unknown to Grand Jury, by force to prevent, hinder and delay the execution of any law of the United States.”
The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
According to prosecutors, on the day the Electoral College vote for president and vice-president was to be certified by Congress, Minuta and other Oath Keepers and associates breached the Capitol grounds and then the building itself.
He and others were accused of forcing their ways past law enforcement officers trying to guard the Rotunda.
Minuta was said to have shouted at officers to “get out” of “my Capitol.”
The indictment also said Minuta used the Signal app with leaders of the Oath Keepers to plan Jan. 6 activities.
One example in the indictment was a message sent Dec. 11 to Minuta and others from Oath Keepers founder and leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes III that said if then-President-Elect Joseph Biden were to assume the presidency, “It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided.”
Minuta, who has since changed his residence from New Jersey to Texas, was arrested March 8.
He became known in the Hudson Valley in the spring of 2020 for protesting and defying the executive order closing non-essential businesses during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
He told Patch at the time that he was taking “a stand against a tyrannical governor who has no respect for lives.”