Man accused in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot 'may have been insane' a day earlier, judge says

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

A New York man who allegedly assaulted an officer during the Jan. 6 break-in at the U.S. Capitol is hospitalized with "a variety of mental health conditions" and attempted suicide twice this year, according to a federal magistrate handling a separate case.

That case, involving Jonathan Munafo's alleged "interstate" threats against an emergency dispatcher in Calhoun County, is being heard on the west side of the state.

April:FBI most wanted Capitol suspect searched for Whitmer online, feds say

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ray Kent committed Munafo for a mental examination, writing Tuesday "there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent" and that he "may have been insane at the time of the offense."

The Calhoun County incident took place the day prior to the Jan. 6 insurrection.

FBI agents used this video of Jonathan Munafo being interviewed in 2020 to identify him as one of the U.S. Capitol violence suspects.

Munafo is among more than 400 people charged in connection with storming the U.S. Capitol. He had been considered among the FBI's "most wanted" for his alleged assault on an officer.

Munafo was arrested in April in Orlando, Florida in connection with threats made Jan. 5 involving a Calhoun County dispatcher.

During that investigation, authorities searched Munafo's Google account and checked his search history.

On Jan. 5, Munafo searched for information about the Calhoun County sheriff, according to court filings.

The News reported in April that on Jan. 5 a man who identified himself as "Yankee Patriot" made repeated threatening phone calls to Calhoun County emergency dispatch.

"The caller, later identified as Jonathan Munafo, placed approximately 143 calls demanding to speak with a deputy sheriff or sergeant, tying up the emergency line for several hours," the FBI agent wrote in an affidavit filed in federal court in the case.

April:Whitmer link emerges in new case of alleged extremism

Munafo also allegedly searched for “Freedom Plaza, Washington, DC,” the location of several pro-Trump demonstrations last fall protesting the presidential election results. Munafo allegedly searched for several firearms and military surplus stores, and “Gretchen Whitmer” on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5.

Kent wrote Tuesday that Munafo will be placed by the U.S. Attorney General into a mental health facility for evaluation. That evaluation is to occur within 45 days of the order, though a 30-day extension is possible.

A report will be made, and then there will be a competency hearing, the judge said.

None of the time necessary for the examination and competency process will count against Munafo's right to a speedy trial, Kent wrote.