CHICAGO (CBS) — Bradley Rukstales, the suburban tech company CEO who was arrested after joining the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, was fired by Schaumburg-based tech company Cogensia on Friday, the same day he was hit with federal charges for his role in the riot.
Rukstales was among 13 people who were hit with federal charges on Friday, after supporters of President Donald Trump turned violent and stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar confirmed Cogensia’s board of directors has fired Rukstales, effective immediately.
“This decision was made because Rukstales’ actions were inconsistent with the core values of Cogensia. Cogensia condemns what occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, and we intend to continue to embrace the values of integrity, diversity and transparency in our business operations, and expect all employees to embrace those values as well,” said Joel Schiltz, who was promoted from senior vice president and Chief Operating Officer to acting CEO after Rukstales was fired.
Rukstales was initially charged with unlawful entry in D.C. Superior Court, but now federal prosecutors have charged him with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority; or knowingly, with intent to impede government business or official functions, engaging in disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The most serious of those two charges carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
“The lawless destruction of the U.S. Capitol building was an attack against one of our Nation’s greatest institutions,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin. “My Office, along with our law enforcement partners at all levels, have been expeditiously working and leveraging every resource to identify, arrest, and begin prosecuting these individuals who took part in the brazen criminal acts at the U.S. Capitol. We are resolute in our commitment to holding accountable anyone responsible for these disgraceful criminal acts, and to anyone who might be considering engaging in or inciting violence in the coming weeks – know this: you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to court documents, Rukstales was part of the mob that forced its way past police barricades and into the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, as a joint session of Congress was underway to vote on confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Capitol Police said officers saw the crowd “making loud noises, and kicking chairs, throwing an unknown liquid substance at officers, and spraying an unknown substance at officers” inside the Capitol.
“In a loud and clear voice, Capitol Police Officers ordered the crowd to leave the building. The crowd did not comply, and instead responded by shouting and cursing at the Capitol Police Officers,” police said in court documents.
Police identified Rukstales as one of six people positioned at the front of the mob who, “like others in the larger crowd, willfully refused the order to leave.”
Rukstales is one of dozens who have been charge in federal court or D.C. Superior Court for their roles in storming the Capitol. As of Friday, 13 people have been charged in federal court and around 40 have been charged in superior court.
Rukstales has admitted he was part of the crowd that rushed into the Capitol and has apologized for his actions.
On Thursday night, Rukstales, of northwest suburban Inverness, told CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar things just got out of hand.
We chatted with Rukstales outside his home. He apologized for his decision and said he regrets the embarrassment to his family, colleagues, and friends.
But when De Mar asked him why he chose to break the law and go inside into the Capitol, he decided he’d had enough talking.
“It was great to see a whole bunch of people together in the morning and hear the speeches, but it turned into chaos,” Rukstales said.
Rukstales was back home Thursday night in his upscale, quiet suburban Inverness home – in a drastic contrast to the chaos he chose to participate in just a day earlier.
“I had nothing to do with charging anybody or anything or doing any of that,” Rukstales said. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and I regret my part in that.”
De Mar asked Rukstales if he was inside the Capitol.
“I was,” Rukstales said.
Online campaign contributions show Rukstales donated more than $28,000 to Republican causes – including $12,000 to President Trump through various committees.
“Everything that happened yesterday I think was absolutely terrible,” Rukstales said. “I’m sorry for my part in it.”
“I think the violence was terrible,” Rukstales added.
De Mar then asked, “Why did you go inside?”
At that point, Rukstales waved and closed the door.
Rukstales later said he followed a group of hundreds inside. He released the following written statement:
“In a moment of extremely poor judgment following the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, I followed hundreds of others through an open set of doors to the Capitol building to see what was taking place inside. I was arrested for the first time in my life and charged with unlawful entry.
“My decision to enter the Capitol was wrong, and I am deeply regretful to have done so. Without qualification and as a peaceful and law-abiding citizen, I condemn the violence and destruction that took place in Washington.
“I offer my sincere apologies for my indiscretion, and I deeply regret that my actions have brought embarrassment to my family, colleagues, friends and fellow countrymen.
“It was the single worst personal decision of my life; I have no excuse for my actions and wish that I could take them back.”
The U.S. Attorney in D.C. has said nothing is off the table when it comes to potential federal charges against those who attacked the Capitol – including sedition, which comes with a possible sentence of 20 years.
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