‘Zip-tie guy’ and his mother sentenced to prison for January 6 crimes

Eric Munchel carried a Taser and stole zip-tie handcuffs from the Capitol as they looked for senators

Alex Woodward
Saturday 09 September 2023 15:35 BST
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A mother-and-son duo who carried zip ties as they searched for lawmakers after breaching the US Capitol were sentenced to federal prison for several felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with the riots.

Eric Munchel, 32, dubbed “zip-tie guy” on social media, was sentenced to nearly five years in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release on 8 September. His mother Lisa Marie Eisenhart, 59, was sentenced to more than two years in prison followed by 36 months of supervised release. They each have been ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution.

They were convicted earlier this year on obstruction and conspiracy charges, and Munchel – who was armed with a Taser – was additionally found guilty of disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon and unauthorised possession of a deadly or dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds.

Photos and videos captured Munchel carrying plastic zip tie-style handcuffs they allegedly stole from inside a closet at the Capitol. “Zip ties! I need to get me some of them mother*******,” Munchel can be heard in video footage.

As they made their way into the Senate Gallery, with Munchel shouting “I want that f****** gavel,” the pair wondered aloud where the “traitors” and “cowards” who evacuated the chamber had gone. The US Department of Justice said the pair were looking for “potential hostages”.

Munchel’s cell phone, mounted to the outside of his tactical vest, recorded a nearly hour-long video of his approach and his time inside the Capitol, which prosecutors used as evidence against them.

“We’re going straight to federal prison if we go in there with weapons,” Eisenhart told Munchel, according to court records.

Lisa Marie Eisenhart, left, and Eric Munchel
Lisa Marie Eisenhart, left, and Eric Munchel (AP)

Eisenhart – who wore a Donald Trump-supporting “Keep America Great Again” beanie – and her son had “prepared for violence” on 6 January 2021, and “projected their willingness to engage in it” as lawmakers convened to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election that Mr Trump lost, according to prosecutors.

They also “openly declared to a reporter that their intent in storming and entering the Capitol was to intimidate Congress,” prosecutors wrote in court filings.

“What is America for?” Eisenhart told a reporter with The Times of London on 7 January 2021. “I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression. I’d rather die and would rather fight.”

“With the 2024 presidential election approaching, a rematch on the horizon, and many loud voices in the media and online continuing to sow discord and distrust, the potential for a repeat of January 6 looms ominously,” prosecutors wrote.

The sentences imposed by US District Court Judge Royce C Lamberth came days after five members of the neo-fascist Proud Boys gang were handed down some of the longest prison terms to date among the hundreds of people charged in connection to the attack.

Now-former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison after a jury found him and three other members of the group guilty of seditious conspiracy, among a number of other crimes connected to their planning and actions on January 6. The sentence is the longest yet among Capitol riot defendants.

More than 1,100 people have been arrested and charged for crimes related to the assault on Congress.

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