Army combat engineer who enlisted after his participation in January 6 riot is arrested

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A man who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol and joined the Army after January 6 has been arrested for his actions on that day.  

Specialist James Mault was taken into custody on the morning of Thursday, October 7 at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, according to a spokesman for Fort Bragg. 

Mault joined the Army in May and was serving as a combat engineer at the time of his arrest. He had previously served in the Army as a Patriot operator before he left active duty as a sergeant in 2016. From 2016 to March 2020, he was a combat engineer in the New York Army National Guard. 

He’s the sixth service member who was currently a member of the military when arrested, but he is the only one who wasn’t in enlisted at the time of his participation in January 6 rioting. Of the other five, one was on active duty and the other four were in the Reserve or Guard. 


“The Army was unaware of any involvement Spc. Mault may have had in the incidents on January 6 or of any information disqualifying him at the time of his enlistment,” Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Ramirez told CBS News in a statement. 

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Ramirez also said the Army focuses on identifying and screening out applicants with a history of extremist and criminal activity before they join the Army by conducting identification and criminal background checks, sex offender queries, local police and court document checks and sending fingerprints to the FBI. 

“The Army will continue to work with the FBI and other entities with inputs into the pre-screening process to obtain relevant information to inform Army enlistment decisions,” Ramirez said. 

But the FBI was aware months earlier of Mault’s alleged involvement in the Capitol attack — FBI special agents had interviewed him on January 18. According to the charging documents, Mault admitted he had attended the rally with five friends and told investigators he had worn his work hard had “because he was aware of ANTIFA attacking Trump supporters after events in Washington.” He said he thought the hat would offer some protection. The FBI said there is no indication that ANTIFA was involved in the January 6 attack.

Mault is being charged with multiple violent crimes as a result of his alleged participation in the January 6 riot. 

Prosecutors say he and codefendant Cody Mattice assaulted officers after spraying them with chemicals.

Mault denied assaulting anyone or damaging property during the attack, investigators said, but the videos they collected from that day tell a different story.

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FILE: James Mault, seen in hard hat at Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Government exhibit

Investigators said that Capitol security cameras and open-source videos collected from January 6 show Mault and Mattice pushed to the front of the mob on the Capitol’s south side entrance, pointing canisters at law enforcement and spraying them with the contents.

Charging documents allege that, when confronted by investigators weeks after the riot, “Mault described being caught up in the crowd and the mass of people pushed him closer and closer to the Capitol Building,” adding he “claimed to have no choice but to move forward because of the press of people behind him. Mault ended up right next to an entrance to the Capitol Building but denied entering the Capitol Building.”

Screengrab of James Mault, seen in hard hat at top of screen on January 6, 2021 at U.S. Capitol.

Government exhibit

In total, CBS News has confirmed 69 current or former service members have been arrested in relation to the Capitol riot. 

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