NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A Derby city official is facing charges in connection to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Gino DiGiovanni turned himself in Tuesday and was arraigned in federal court in New Haven on two counts of entering restricted grounds, one count of disorderly conduct on U.S. Capitol grounds, and one count of demonstrating inside the Capitol building.
Outside of court Tuesday, DiGiovanni said he didn’t do anything wrong.
“I think the evidence that will be presented that I am innocent,” he said.
His lawyer, Martin Minnella, said DiGiovanni “was just a man expressing his views and his political persuasion, and he is not a criminal in any sense.”
DiGiovanni is a first-term alderman in the city of Derby, a member of the planning and zoning commission, and is running for mayor. He is also the chair of the Derby Republican Town Committee and was endorsed by the group last month.
“Gino’s presence on Jan. 6, has not changed our view in his ability to be able to lead Derby today and in the future,” Sam Pollastro, Jr, the vice chairman of the Derby Republican Town Committee said. “It has not changed nor erased his work ethic, community involvement, and all the things that make him the candidate that we are supporting for the upcoming election. His dedication to this town is unwavering, and so is our support of him.
Minnella questioned the timing of the charges with it being so close to the primary on Sept. 12.
“It’s an inopportune time. We were waiting for this at least since January,” he said. “He professes his innocence, and we welcome his day in court.”
The judge added a condition to DiGiovanni’s release requiring him to stay away from Washington, D.C., unless he’s required to attend court. He must also turn over his passport to his attorney and his firearms to a legal gun owner or Derby police by Friday.
The current mayor of Derby, Richard Dziekan, also a Republican running for reelection, responded to his challenger’s arrest, saying in part, “I trust the system. He was observed allegedly violating the law, and he’s been summoned to answer for that. We’ll see how it all turns out.”
The case will play out in court in Washington, D.C. A remote hearing is expected within the next three weeks.
If convicted on all four counts, DiGiovanni could spend up to two years in prison and pay over $100,000 in fines.