A Panorama City man who apparently admitted to FBI agents that he tased a police officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is now trying to get his confession tossed, as a federal judge on Tuesday ordered the public release of his videotaped interview with investigators.
An attorney representing Daniel Rodriguez alleged in a recent court filing that the FBI violated Rodriguez’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by not properly giving him his Miranda warning while interviewing him shortly after his arrest. A Dec. 9 hearing is set on whether the confession can be used by prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Tuesday ruled that video of the FBI interview, portions of which were previously played in her Washington D.C. courtroom, should be released, according to court records.
Rodriguez, during the apparently-tearful FBI interview, confessed to tasering Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, according to a written transcript of the interview filed with the court. The officer, in previous news interviews, has described a mob threatening to kill him after looting his ammunition, police radio and badge while he lay on the steps of the Capitol.
“Why did you tase him?” an FBI agent asked Rodriguez, according to the transcript.
“I don’t know,” Rodriguez responded while crying. “I’m a piece of (expletive). I’m sorry. I don’t know. He’s a human being with children, and he’s not a bad guy. He sounds like he’s just doing his job and he’s… I’m an (expletive).”
A devoted supporter to then-President Donald Trump, Rodriguez told the FBI agents that he went to several rallies in the lead-up to the 2020 election, then after Trump’s loss came to believe that the election had been stolen and the country was on the verge of a “civil war.”
Asked by an agent to tell his story of how he ended up at the Capitol, Rodriguez said “My story is just that we thought that we were going to save America, and we were wrong.”
“I, personally, felt that this is something that the Founding Fathers of the country understood was going to happen again one day and that we would be needed to do something righteous,” Rodriguez told the agents. “And I didn’t think that I was going to be the bad guy.”
According to the transcript, Rodriguez broke down numerous times during the interview, at one point telling the agents “I’m so stupid.”
“I’m so weak. I’m crying,” Rodriguez said toward the beginning of the interview. “Oh, God. I shouldn’t be crying. I’m a grown man and I knew what I was doing. Whatever happens to me is going to have to happen to me.”
Rodriguez – along with Edward Badalian of North Hills and an unnamed third defendant – has been indicted for a variety of federal charges, including conspiracy, obstruction, entering a restricted building and theft and destruction of government property. Rodriguez and Badalian allegedly created group chat on the Telegram app called “Patriots 45 MAGA Gang” that prosecutors allege was used to advocate violence against “certain groups and individuals” who “supported” the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Along with using a Taser on the officer, the indictment also alleges that Rodriguez threw a flagpole at a police line and set off a fire extinguisher toward the officers. After leaving the Capitol, Rodriguez allegedly wrote postings on the “Patriots 45” chat “OMG I did so much (expletives) and got away,” adding “Tazzzzzed the (expletive) out of the blue.”
During the FBI interview, Rodriguez denied threatening another person to convince them to delete photos or videos of Rodriguez and Badalian during Capitol riot.
Records show Rodriguez, 38, was arrested in Fontana; but the latest indictment lists him as a resident of Panorama City.
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Author: Sean Emery