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California man accused of raiding Capitol, poses as press

SANTA ANA, California – A Southern California man has been arrested after being accused of joining the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol while trying to emulate a media member.

Matthew Thomas Purse, 45, was arrested in Irvine on Friday on federal charges of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive behavior in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building and parade, demonstrating or stabbing in a Capitol building, the Orange County Register reported.

The purse was photographed inside the Capitol wearing a tactical vest and black helmet marked with the word “press”

; according to a criminal complaint that was not sealed Friday. There is no evidence that the purse has legitimate press releases or is affiliated with any news organization, the FBI said in an arrest warrant that accompanied the complaint.

When The Associated Press reached Saturday, Purse said he was in the building as “part of a legitimate news organization.” He declined to name the news organization, saying he had been subjected to violent threats.

“The record shows I was not there in any illegal capacity,” Purse said.

Video footage shows the purse entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 through the east side of the building, carrying a long black rod with what appears to be a recording device at the end, and continuing to the Rotunda, according to court documents.

Purse was identified by a confidential source who saw him on a livestream video, according to the FBI.

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