SAN DIEGO – An Ocean Beach man has been charged for his role in the violent Jan. 6 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol, telling authorities he was inside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and claiming Joe Biden was an illegitimate president, a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court shows.
Philip James Weisbecker was arrested Oct. 21 in Jamul after an investigation spanning months into his conduct in the protest. Investigators say he was identified by two different tipsters who contacted the FBI in January to share Weisbecker’s name and photos, including from cable news coverage and a selfie that appears to show him posing near a statue of Abraham Lincoln.
Weisbecker told investigators he works as a freelance construction building estimator. In a Jan. 25 Facebook post, Weisbecker said he was in Washington D.C. as a “citizen journalist” who was there for “the sole purpose of being able to tell those in this group the truth.”
He faces three charges from federal investigators: illegally entering and remaining in a restricted building, knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in the building, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds.
Federal investigators reviewed social media records and flight information, among other evidence, from Weisbecker. He’s also admitted to investigators that he attended Trump’s Jan. 6 “Stop The Steal” speech near the White House before progressing toward the Capitol with other protesters.
The complaint shows four separate instances in February and March where Weisbecker was questioned by authorities while attempting to cross into the U.S. from Mexico.
At the most recent instance March 3 at the Tecate Port of Entry, Weisbecker is alleged to have told U.S. Customs and Border and Protection that any damage to the Capitol had been caused by antifa and argued that nobody was killed in the protests.
More than 600 people across the U.S. have been arrested for joining the protest at the Capitol, including Coronado resident Jeffrey Alexander Smith, jailed in late January after the FBI received a tip from someone who knew him. The Associated Press reported that at least nine people there during and after the protest had died, including 35-year-old Ocean Beach woman Ashli Babbitt, who was fatally shot by an officer as she tried to break into a hallway that connects to the House chamber.
Weisbecker told CBP that Babbitt “did not exist,” claiming that he knew “everyone” in the community and that nobody he spoke to knew Babbitt.
“WEISBECKER asked where her (Ashli Babbitt’s) funeral was,” the complaint alleges. “He stated it had not been here (San Diego) so she (Ashli Babbitt) was not from here (San Diego). WEISBECKER said Babbitt was not actually her last name.”
In the interview, he claimed to have entered the Capitol through the rear exit and was walking for a time with someone named “Sam,” who worked for the right-wing conspiracy website Infowars. He is alleged to have entered Pelosi’s office with Sam, staying in “the first portion of the wing,” before exiting after hearing someone yell “SWAT.”
He also falsely claimed that Trump was still president, citing “all the statistics” and “data” he’d researched. The complaint does not delve into any of the information Weisbecker claimed to have reviewed.
A search warrant of Weisbecker’s Facebook account was carried out in March. On it, investigators found “numerous posts and/or videos” which indicated he was in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 and was inside the Capitol. He is believed to have flown to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport from San Diego on Jan. 4 and returned to San Diego on a Jan. 7 flight.
Portions of posts shared in the complaint show Weisbecker arguing there were no racists in the Capitol and that antifa, Black Lives Matter and Capitol Police “worked together” to allow him inside.
“No one on this earth that has known me for one minute would ever consider me a racist, and over the three days I spent in DC I never met or witnessed one ever,” he said, responding to a comment on Feb. 1. “FYI, I am still here, but all the Antifa, BLM false flag aggitators [SIC] are facing criminal charges from the FBI. I was there to tell the american people the truth. The truth is racism had absolutely nothing to do with a stolen election.”
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Weisbecker was in San Diego federal court Monday and remains out of jail on his own recognizance.