In the following days, private messages obtained by federal authorities show Christmann bragged about participating in the riot, explaining to those messaging him on Instagram how he reached unauthorized areas.
When Christmann later became aware that authorities arrested two people he knew who were inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, he began reaching out to Facebook friends to ask them to delete any videos showing him on the grounds that day, prosecutors said.
“Please remove those videos,” Christmann wrote, according to a screenshot in the complaint. “My friend jake got taken in and my campaign manager from this summer got taken in. Its go time on the end of times.”
“Deleted,” one person, who is not identified in the complaint, replied.
Christmann, who now faces multiple charges over his alleged role in the deadly insurrection, did not immediately respond to messages from The Washington Post late Wednesday. Court records do not indicate who is representing him.
Christmann, who was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, was arrested Wednesday. His arrest came a day after four Capitol police officers delivered emotional testimony during a congressional hearing of the insurrection, detailing the abuse they endured while attempting to hold back the mob of President Donald Trump supporters on Jan. 6.
Last year, Christmann, a service manager for a plumbing and heating company, ran as a Libertarian for election to the New York State Senate to represent District 18, which includes Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick neighborhoods. He lost to Democratic incumbent Julia Salazar.
Days after the insurrection, two tipsters shared screenshots of the Jan. 6 videos Christmann recorded inside the Capitol and posted to Instagram, prosecutors said. Records later provided by Instagram confirmed the social media account belonged to Christmann, the criminal complaint states.
Later, a third person whose relationship to Christmann is unknown reached out to the FBI and submitted a video allegedly recorded by Christmann in which an unidentified individual can be heard yelling, “We want Nancy. … We want the rest of them,” referencing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of Congress inside the building on Jan. 6.
Additional surveillance video obtained by the FBI shows Christmann, who sported a light-colored plaid jacket and a collared shirt, standing in a crowd outside the Capitol.
When a D.C. judge granted the FBI access to Christmann’s social media accounts, federal agents said they discovered the New York man had admitted to storming the Capitol in several Instagram messages following the insurrection.
“So you stormed the Capitol, huh?” a person messaged him on Jan. 7.
“Yeah im not going to lie,” Christmann replied, according to the criminal complaint. “I wasn’t one of the first people in. When [I] realized it was happening I was scaling walls and s---.”
That same day, another user asked him, “You went inside?”
Christmann wrote back, “How could I not?” the complaint asserts.
When another user congratulated him for entering the building, screenshots included in the criminal complaint show Christmann answered, “Yup. Scaled a wall on a garden hose.”
It is unclear whether Christmann remains in custody and when he is next scheduled to appear in court.