- A father-son pastor duo were arrested and charged on Thursday in connection with the Capitol riot.
- A congregant who accompanied them to Washington, DC, on January 6, helped authorities build a case.
- More than 500 people have been charged in the Capitol riot so far.
A father and son pastor duo are the most recent accused Capitol rioters to be arrested and charged over their participation in the January 6 insurrection.
James “Jim” Varnell Cusick, 71, and his son Casey Cusick, 35, who both serve as pastors at Global Outreach Church of Melbourne in Melbourne, Florida, as well as a member of their congregation, were arrested on Thursday, according to charging documents.
In late January, the FBI received an anonymous tip that James was inside the Capitol rotunda during the Capitol attack, prosecutors said. On March 26, the agency received another tip from a different individual alleging that both James and his son Casey had traveled from Florida to Washington, DC, to attend then-President Donald Trump’s rally.
The tipster said the pair was accompanied by another individual, “known to law enforcement” as David Lesperance, and the three had entered the Capitol during the riot and taken videos and pictures, according to charging documents.
In the days following, authorities received another tip regarding Lesperance, prompting task force officers to interview the man, prosecutors said. During the interview, Lesperance, 69, reportedly admitted his pastor was also at Trump’s rally and that “they” had entered the Capitol, but he refused to give authorities any additional names, charging documents said.
Lesperance also acknowledged he took videos and photos while inside the Capitol but told authorities he later deleted the media fearing repercussions, according to legal documents.
Authorities were able to connect Lesperance to Global Outreach Church of Melbourne, where James Cusick and Casey Cusick serve as founder and vice president, respectively. Officials also found a photo from the church’s Instagram account featuring both Casey and Lesperance together.
Authorities tied all three men’s cell phone locations to the vicinity of the Capitol on January 6, prosecutors said. Officials were also able to compare photos of both James and Casey found on Lespearance’s iCloud account that appear to show them wearing the same clothes as they were seen wearing on footage captured by body-worn camera and security footage from around and inside the Capitol on January 6.
James and Casey were arrested on Thursday and face charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
According to Florida Today, Lesperance faces similar charges.
Neither James nor Casey via Global Outreach Church immediately responded to Insider’s request for comment. Lesperance could not be reached for comment.
The men were due in court for an initial appearance on Thursday afternoon in Orlando, the outlet reported.
More than 500 people have been charged in the Capitol riot so far.