capitol riot

Natick Town Meeting Member, Straight Pride Parade Organizer Charged in Capitol Riot

Suzanne Ianni and Mark Sahady were seen in photos inside the U.S. Capitol among a riotous mob of Trump supporters, the FBI said

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Two Massachusetts residents, including a town meeting member who organized buses to take Trump supporters to Washington ahead of the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol, were arrested Tuesday in connection with the riot, authorities said.

Natick town meeting member Suzanne Ianni, 59, was arrested Tuesday morning and faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds, according to the FBI.

Ianni was arraigned in federal court and released on personal recognizance. It's unclear when she's due back in court.

A Natick town meeting member is among those who have been arrested after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol while President-elect Joe Biden's win was being finalized in Congress.

A second Massachusetts resident, Mark G. Sahady, 46, of Malden, was also arrested Tuesday morning on the same two charges, the agency said. Sahady is vice president of Super Happy Fun America, the group that organized the "straight pride" parade in Boston in 2019. He is also a member of the right-wing group "Resist Marxism."

In photos taken on the day of the Capitol riot, the FBI said Ianni and Sahady could be seen among a riotous mob of Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol. One photo showed them both inside the Capitol building.

The FBI said Ianni, who is also a member of Super Happy Fun America, reportedly organized buses taking members of the group from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.

Ianni said in a TV interview that there were 11 buses with about 300 members of the group.

Both Ianni and Sahady were identified in a picture of a group of people that Super Happy Fun America posted on Twitter with the caption: “Bus 1 of 11 coming to Washington DC See you there!” authorities said.

A town meeting member from Natick, Massachusetts, as well as a Malden man are facing charges after photos emerged of them inside the U.S. Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6, according to the FBI.

Ianni did not comment outside federal court in Boston Tuesday. An email seeking comment was sent to her lawyer.

Despite the photographic evidence, Sahady's attorney said he believed the government's case against his client was "weak."

"I think it's a political trial and a travesty of justice," said Sahady's lawyer, Rinaldo Del Gallo. "There is a photo of Mark Sahady in the interior of the Capitol, in an area that is usually open to the public, and that's pretty weak evidence."

Ianni didn't want to talk about her trip to Washington when asked about it outside her house by NBC10 Boston last week.

But other people in town did.

"We're not going to tolerate this," said Natick resident Ben Jackson, who wrote a letter to town officials asking them to explore legal avenues to remove Ianni from her elected position.

He also started a petition that has hundreds of signatures.

A Natick town meeting member is under fire after photos showed her inside the US Capitol.

"She is a member of town government, and it's so important that our town government represents our town well," Jackson said.

Natick's town moderator said there is no provision in the charter for recalling a town meeting member.

The town said it is reviewing its options.

"I don't know that we'll be able to force her out, but I do know that if she chooses to run again, I do know if she chooses to maintain her seat, she will not win re-election," Jackson said. "We will make sure this is her final term in office in Natick."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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