One of the rioters who invaded the US capitol on Wednesday has been identified as the son of Steven (Shlomo) Mostofsky, a New York judge and former president of the National Council of Young Israel, an Orthodox synagogue association that has been outspokenly pro-Trump, the Gothamist reported on Thursday.
Aaron Mostofsky, whose father is Kings County Supreme Court Judge Mostofsky, entered the building wearing fur pelts and a bulletproof vest and carrying a riot shield he said he found, Gothamist reported, citing the New York Post.
Mostofsky was photographed several times on Wednesday next to Jake Angeli, a QAnon supporter who also wore a horned hat and furry outfit, though it is not clear that their outfits were coordinated.
When asked by The Post for a justification for storming the Capitol, he responded that it was because “the election was stolen.”
“We were cheated,” he said. “I don’t think 75 million people voted for Trump — I think it was close to 85 million.”
“I think certain states that have been red for a long time turned blue and were stolen, like New York,” he told The Post.
Mostofsky’s brother Nachman, the executive director of Chovevei Zion, a politically conservative Orthodox advocacy organization, as well as a Brooklyn district leader and vice president of the South Brooklyn Conservative Club, also attended the rally Wednesday but did not enter the Capitol.
Back in December, William Barr, US attorney-general at the time, who had been appointed by Trump, denied any evidence of widespread election fraud.
Aaron was amongst the earlier groups to breach the Capitol, which cut lawmakers short of announcing Joe Biden’s election victory. They later confirmed his triumph, one that even Trump acknowledged eventually.
“My brother did nothing illegal,” Aaron’s brother, Nachman told Gothamist. “He definitely was not part of the riot.”
Nachman insisted to the Gothamist that his brother was “pushed inside” the Capitol, that he didn’t voluntary break in.
“No conservative will condone what happened today, the actual storming of the Capitol … it was unpatriotic,” he said. “But we heard for months during the summer when people don’t feel heard, this is what happens.”
As recently as Thursday morning, Trump had continued to claim falsely that the election had been stolen from him. On Thursday, he said his focus would now turn to ensuring a smooth transition to a Biden administration.
Social media companies have been under pressure to police misinformation about the US election on their platforms, including from the president.
Trump and his allies for months have amplified baseless claims of election fraud, driving the organizing for Wednesday’s demonstration.
Lahav Harkov and Shira Hanau contributed to this report.