3rd Michigan man arrested in investigation of Capitol riot

Feb 12, 2021

Trump supporters U.S. Capitol
Credit Julio Cortez / Associated Press

A third Michigan man was arrested Thursday in an investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

James Mels, 56, of Shelby Township is charged with entering a restricted building without permission and violent entry on Capitol grounds.

He appeared Thursday in Detroit federal court and was released on bond. Future court hearings will be in Washington.

“His solid background and family supported a release on unsecured bond and he’ll answer to the charges in D.C.,” attorney Jonathan Epstein said. “He’s a sheet metal worker and a good, solid guy.”

After getting a tip, the FBI said it recently interviewed Mels, who admitted being at the Capitol and showed photos on his phone.

Mels said “he did not engage in any violence and was not aware of anyone organizing violence,” the FBI said in a court filing.

He said he traveled to Washington with “other like-minded patriots” because Mels believed the election was “fraudulently decided,” the FBI said.