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I-Team: New details emerge about local activist charged in Capitol riot


SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — New details are emerging about the federal investigation into a political activist from Lackawanna County.

58-year-old Frank Scavo from Old Forge faces four federal charges in the January 6th riot at the Capitol in Washington D.C. Newly obtained federal documents appear to raise questions about Scavo’s contention that he was forced into the Capitol building by an out of control mob.

“We could see people up along the railing what obviously how did these guys get in there. We started to see the tear gas and the sound of flash bangs,” Scavo told Eyewitness News the day after the January 6th riot at the Capitol building.

He says he was not inside the building. He led a group of several hundred people from northeastern Pennsylvania to Washington that day to take part in a protest of the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

But images that appear to show Scavo inside the Capitol that day started showing up on national and social media. Scavo later told the FBI that he was inside the Capitol, but was forced in by the surge of the large crowd. Scavo was charged last week.

“He was in the building approximately eight minutes. He went in with the mob. The first opportunity to get out of the mob he did, backing off to the right. He went down corridors trying to get out. In there for eight minutes, he even encountered two police officers and asked them directions how to get out,” attorney Ernie Preate, who represents Scavo said.

But a seven-page federal complaint and arrest warrant obtained by the I-Team raises questions about Scavo’s story. Federal investigators say video given to them by Scavo and recorded by Scavo includes audio of statements made by him while he was inside the Capitol building during the riot.

On page four of the document, the FBI says you can hear Scavo chanting with the crowd: “treason” and “defend the Constitution, defend your liberty.”

In another video recording, described on page five of the federal document, Scavo is heard to say: “This is top secret ( expletive.) “We stormed the (expletive) Capitol of the (expletive) United States at 58 years old.”

On page six, according to the FBI, Scavo is heard to say “Your own personal tour of the (expletive) Capitol. We (expletive) took it back. Took it back.”

The I-Team spoke to Preate on Tuesday about these comments. He tells us: “Frank was in awe about what was happening. He tried to get out of Capitol. We are cooperating with the FBI. We have nothing to hide.”

Scavo faces up to three years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines if convicted of these charges, which include unlawful entry onto federal property.

We reached out to Scavo for comment. We have not heard back from him.

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