Right-Wing ‘Snowflake News’ Influencer Arrested on Jan. 6 Charges

The Florida influencer behind the right-wing Instagram meme account Snowflake News was arrested Wednesday on charges related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.Michael Hennessey, 38, is accused of assaulting cops after he breached the Capitol—with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in hand—and spent nearly an hour roaming and recording inside. Michael

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The Florida influencer behind the right-wing Instagram meme account Snowflake News was arrested Wednesday on charges related to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Michael Hennessey, 38, is accused of assaulting cops after he breached the Capitol—with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in hand—and spent nearly an hour roaming and recording inside.

Screenshot of Michael Hennessey’s Instagram page.

Michael Hennessey’s Instagram page had 211,000 followers as of Thursday.

Instagram

Hennessey was allegedly at the “forefront” of multiple charges against police, helping lead Donald Trump supporters past cops’ lines to occupy restricted areas of the Capitol. After police were overwhelmed, federal prosecutors said Hennessey stopped in the House majority leader’s office to take pictures during his 58 minutes inside the building.

A statement of facts obtained by The Daily Beast alleges that Hennessey first breached the Capitol at 2:15 p.m., putting him among the first rioters to enter the building through its Senate wing.

Once inside, Hennessey allegedly joined the mob in chanting “Our House” and “Fight for Trump.” He was also spotted at the front of a group that chanted “Nancy, Nancy” before they pushed past two officers and entered the Senate Chamber.

Michael Hennessey wearing a black mask and beanie in the U.S. Capitol.

Michael Hennessey wearing a black mask and beanie in the U.S. Capitol.

Department of Justice

Prosecutors wrote that Hennessey picked up a black mask and put it on once inside the building. Any efforts to stay anonymous appear to have been thwarted by the ample footage obtained by federal investigators from Jan. 6, with Hennessey’s statement of facts including 19 photos of him in and around the Capitol—largely from security cameras.

In a 2022 interview with investigators, Hennessey said his phone was dead while he was in the Capitol. Prosecutors poured cold water on that claim this week, however, alleging they have video evidence that Hennessey pulled out his phone to record rioters lighting equipment on fire that was abandoned by reporters after they were threatened.

An arrest affidavit was sealed Thursday, but records showed Hennessey was slapped with a slew of charges that included a felony count of civil disorder. If convicted, he could spend up to five years behind bars.

Hennessey, whose arrest was first reported by the Tampa Bay Times, is among 1,385 alleged rioters to be arrested in connection with the Capitol riot.

The Floridian has posted clips spreading misinformation and railing against woke politics for years on his Instagram page, which boasted nearly a quarter million followers on Thursday morning. His account was named a “repeat spreader” of misinformation related to the 2020 election in a report by Stanford and University of Washington academics.

When the Times reported on his account being listed in that report, he appeared to wear the designation as a badge of honor.

“Nice!” Hennessey told the Times. “If they’re putting their false information about me out there… then I’m stepping on somebody’s toes who’s doing something they shouldn’t be.”

Records show Hennessey was released on bond, but he has yet to address his arrest on his social media. A future court date is yet to be scheduled.

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