When conspiracy theorist Alex Jones marched on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, rousing his legion of supporters, an unassuming middle-aged man in a red “Trump 2020” hat clearly marked.
Videos and photos reviewed by CNN show the man dutifully recording Jones with his phone as the bombastic media personality ascends the restricted area of the Capitol grounds where mobs of supporters of President Donald Trump eventually stepped in.
While the man’s actions outside the Capitol that day have gone largely unscrutinized, his alleged connections to a plot to subvert the 2020 election have recently come into focus: He was attorney Kenneth Chesebro, the alleged architect in a scheme to subvert the 2020 Electoral College process by using fake GOP electors in several states.
When asked by the House select committee where he was the first week of January 2021 and on January 6, Chesebro invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. But a CNN investigation has put him outside the Capitol with what he says is a plot to keep Trump in office unresolved inside it.
There was no indication that Chesebro entered the Capitol Building or was violent. Jones did not enter the Capitol on January 6, 2021, or engage in violence, but he warned of an impending war the day before and urged his supporters to gather at the Capitol.
Chesebro is the only unaffiliated partner in Trump’s recent federal indictment and the only member of Trump’s legal efforts known to be on the Capitol grounds on January 6. .
CNN was able to locate Chesebro at the protest through publicly available databases containing photos and videos from that day. Interviews with his acquaintances also confirm his identity. Chesebro declined CNN’s requests for comment, citing ongoing litigation.
It’s unclear why Chesebro followed Jones on Jan. 6.
“Even if Chesebro is just a diehard Infowars fan, I think that further illustrates how thin the line is between serious, credentialed people seeking to undermine election results and the extremist figures who seek to unleash the chaos of that time, to the extent that it meaningfully exists at all,” said Jared Holt, an expert at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue who investigates extremism, hate and disinformation.
As of 2022, the extent of Chesebro’s involvement in the alleged plot to subvert the 2020 elections is relatively unknown. The Harvard-educated lawyer has now been indicted in Fulton County, Georgia, along with Trump and 17 others with prosecutors saying they were involved in a criminal conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in Georgia in favor of Trump.
Chesebro’s path to Trump’s orbit was not traditional. He is a former research assistant to Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, one of the most respected liberal constitutional scholars in the country. Chesebro reportedly said he made a small fortune in cryptocurrency and in 2020 he donated thousands to Republican candidates.
In November 2020, he began his work advising Trump campaign lawyer Jim Troupis on the potential use of fake voters in Wisconsin, first reported by the New York Times.
Chesebro later wrote a series of memos outlining plans where fake Trump voters in states won by Biden could be identified “in court, state legislatures, or Congress.”
In a December 2020 email exchange between Chesebro and John Eastman, another architect of the voter fraud scheme, uncovered by a House select committee investigation on January 6, Chesebro suggested that the “chaos ” on January 6 may force Supreme Court justices to act before the count. can happen. He wrote, “the chances of action before Jan. 6 will be more favorable if the judges begin to fear that there will be a ‘wild’ riot on Jan. 6 unless they rule at that time, somehow.”
In Trump’s recent federal indictment, Chesebro was identified by CNN as co-conspirator 5 – described by prosecutors as a lawyer “who helped create and attempt to execute a plan to submit fraudulent slate of presidential electors to block further certification.”
On January 6, photos and videos show Chesebro with Jones for about an hour, starting a short distance from the Capitol at about 1:40 p.m. As Jones and his companions headed toward the Capitol , Chesebro followed without his phone, apparently recording Jones .
CNN recreated Chesebro’s actions using deleted video clips from the conservative social media site Parler, photos from Twitter, footage from Infowars and video from the body camera of his own bodyguard. Jones – previously published by Infowars – along with video compiled by amateur researchers tracking Jones’ movements. .
Videos reviewed by CNN show Chesebro with Jones in two sections of the restricted area around the Capitol cited in a federal indictment against Owen Shroyer – another Infowars host – who was with Jones in that places at the same time in Chesebro.
Shroyer, who previously signed a deferred prosecution agreement in another case saying he would not engage in misconduct on the Capitol grounds, was charged with four misdemeanors. Shroyer later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of trespassing and remaining on prohibited grounds.
Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor who previously served as special counsel to the Defense Department’s general counsel, told CNN that Chesebro’s presence on the Capitol grounds could be discussed by prosecutors.
“Regardless of Chesebro’s potential criminal liability for being in restricted areas on Capitol grounds, this evidence can be cited by prosecutors as further proof that Chesebro was not acting as bona fide legal counsel. but an activist aligned with the cause of overturning the election,” Goodman said. “This undercuts the defenses that Chesebro could raise that he was merely acting in the role of providing legal advice for clients.”
The footage shows Chesebro front and center recording Jones as he gives an impromptu speech on the West Lawn of the Capitol grounds urging supporters not to fight the police and to come to the other side of the Capitol where they have a permit. As Alex Jones and his cohorts left, the West side of the Capitol was breached.
Chesebro followed Jones and his colleagues to the other side of the Capitol and at one point appeared to show something on his phone to a member of Jones’ security team at approximately 2:09 p.m., a recording said. appeared. Later, the group, including Chesebro, made their way to the middle of the steps of the Capitol Building before descending.
Shortly after they leave, a mob trying to force the doors on the East side of the Capitol pushes their way.
Later, Chesebro is seen walking near the Peace Monument in front of the Capitol.
In a deposition with the January 6th Committee in October 2022, Chesebro invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked if he would be in Washington, DC in January 2021 until the certification of the results. . An email obtained by the Committee shows Chesebro saying he will be staying at the Trump International Hotel in DC from the 3rd to the 8th of January.
A video reviewed by CNN shows Chesebro at Freedom Plaza a day earlier on Jan. 5 before a rally that also included speeches by Jones and Shroyer.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Laurence Tribe’s name.