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Former Houston police officer charged in US Capitol riot

January 19, 2021 GMT

HOUSTON (AP) — A former Houston police officer was charged Tuesday for his alleged role in the mob attack at the U.S. Capitol, authorities said.

Tam Pham is facing two federal misdemeanor charges for entering a restricted building and engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct on Capitol grounds.

Pham had been placed on administrative leave after authorities determined he had been at the Capitol, but the 18-year veteran of the force later resigned.

Pham attended a Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., in support of President Donald Trump. He initially told FBI agents he did not join the mob that entered the Capitol building, but agents found photographs and video on Pham’s cellphone that showed he went inside, according to court documents.

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Pham later told agents he went inside but was there only 10 to 15 minutes before leaving.

Nicole DeBorde, Pham’s attorney, said her client “very much regrets” being at the rally and is “deeply remorseful.”

Rioters violently clashed with authorities as they forced their way in the Capitol to try to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Five people died during the siege, including a Capitol police officer. More than 160 people have been arrested so far on charges related to the violent insurrection.

“He feels strongly that we should all be honoring the election results that Mr. Biden is the president,” DeBorde said.

DeBorde described Pham as a peaceful man who is a practicing Buddhist and supports the rule of law.

“He’s extremely saddened to see what he’s now seen on the news about the potential violence that took place around Washington, D.C. on (Jan. 6) and doesn’t in any way want to be associated with that or any movement associated with what happened on that day,” DeBorde said.