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I-Team: Local activist charged in Capitol riot, turns himself in to FBI

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A Lackawanna County man is now facing federal charges in connection with the January 6 riots at the nation’s Capitol.

Eyewitness News first reported word of the charges against Frank Scavo from Old Forge Wednesday night. Thursday, Scavo turned himself in to the FBI.

Scavo denies that he played in any part in the actual riot and pleaded not guilty. In fact, he and his lawyer argue that he was pushed into the Capitol by the mob.

Scavo arrived at the federal courthouse in Scranton Thursday morning. His attorney, Ernie Preate, walked along side of him.

Scavo was there to face four federal misdemeanor charges in connection with the riot at the Capitol. Scavo had led a group of several hundred supporters of then President Donald Trump to the Capitol that day to protest the certification of the 2020 election, when violence erupted.

The day after the riot, Scavo told Eyewitness News reporter Mark Hiller that he was never inside the capitol and watched the violence from across the street from the Capitol.

“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 said on January 7.

But in the days after the riot, photos started to surface on national and social media that appeared to show Scavo inside the Capitol building, taking photos or video of the event.

Mehalshick: “Mr. Preate, I know Mr. Scavo told one of our reporters that he wasn’t in the Capitol the day after the riot, then pictures showed up showing him in there.”

Preate: “I wish Frank would have talked to me before he gets involved with you guys. We talked to the FBI, we laid it out very clearly.”

Preate says Scavo was pushed into the Capitol.

“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,” Preate said.

“It’s a great day to be an American in the United States of America Still subscribe to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States,” Scavo said.

Scavo walked out of the federal courthouse a free man, as his case makes its way through the justice system.

“We will be giving you guys more comment as the days progress but right now my attorney Mr. Ernie Preate has asked I make no formal comment,” Scavo said. 

Eyewitness News tried asking him about why he apparently lied about being inside the Capitol.

Mehalshick: “You told our reporter that you were not inside the Capitol a day later, then pictures come out?

“As the things progressed we’ll come up with… thanks,” Scavo said in response to Andy.

Scavo faces three years in prison and more than $600,000 in fines if convicted on all four counts. He was brought into his first court appearance in handcuffs and shackles. They were removed once he was freed on bail. 

Scavo will have a Zoom preliminary hearing next Wednesday with a judge in Washington D.C. Federal prosecutors had no comment on the investigation.

The paperwork obtained by Eyewitness News pertaining to Scavo’s charges can be found here:

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