Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno Right-Wing Activist Convicted of Two Felonies in US Capitol Riot
bill-new-mug-002
By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 weeks ago on
June 27, 2024

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Madera resident Benjamin Martin, 46, of two felonies and several misdemeanors for his active role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, Wednesday, June 26, 2024. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A federal jury in Washington, D.C. convicted Madera resident and former Fresno real-estate agent Benjamin Martin, 46, of two felonies and several misdemeanors for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot on Wednesday.

The Department of Justice announced Martin’s convictions on Thursday morning.

GV Wire senior reporter David Taub contributed to this story.

Martin was found guilty of felony civil disorder and felony obstruction of an official proceeding. His misdemeanor convictions were for entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras will sentence Martin on Nov. 15.

In an interview with GV Wire following his September 2021 arrest by the FBI, Martin claimed that he was caught up in the mob and just trying to act as a peacemaker.

Evidence Presented at Trial

According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, Martin attended then-President Donald Trump’s rally on the National Mall and made his way to the north side of the Capitol building, where rioters were gathered around a set of double doors.

At about 3 p.m., Martin commanded that the two officers guarding the doors “let us in,” but the officers did not respond. Martin remained at the front of the group of rioters, at one point shouting, “our house,” in an officer’s face.

Martin Goes From Onlooker to Active Participant

When one of the doors was briefly opened from the inside as a rioter exited the building, Martin then reached past the officers guarding the door, grabbed it, and entered the building over the sound of an alarm. Other rioters flooded in behind him.

Once inside, a larger group of officers pushed Martin and other rioters back out the door. However, Martin and the other rioters remained in the doorway. Rioters near Martin began to tackle, shove, spray, and hurl objects at the officers as Martin held one of the double doors open.

The officers attempted to retreat into the Capitol building away from the onslaught and pull the door shut behind them, but Martin continued to pull the door open. One officer tried to get Martin’s hand off the door, striking it with a baton, but Martin did not relent. The officer continued to swing his baton at Martin’s hand, but Martin evaded the baton and grabbed the door elsewhere as another rioter sprayed the officer with a chemical irritant.

The officer next grabbed the door and attempted to pull it closed, but Martin again grabbed the door and tried to keep it open. Ultimately, with help from other officers, the door was shut and locked. However, minutes later, Martin pulled one of the doors back open. Several officers came through the door, deploying chemical spray and pepper bullets to disburse the crowd.

Martin: ‘We Are Going to Rise up Against an Oppressive Government’

Still, Martin remained in the area for over an hour as rioters attempted to reenter the building, telling officers that “we are going to rise up against an oppressive government” and admonishing them to “Walk away from [their] posts.” Martin eventually left the area as more officers arrived.

The FBI arrested Martin on Sept. 2, 2021, at his Madera residence.

Martin’s Activism

Before the Capitol riot, Martin voiced his hard-right political opinions in shows he hosted on social media accounts. And, in 2020, he led rallies at Fresno retailers, protesting against masking policies. Martin was detained at one point, but not formally arrested. He has also had documented public shouting matches with Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias.

Martin was on probation for a 2018 domestic violence case at the time of his arrest and had an active restraining order from his estranged sister.

His real estate license was restricted by the state Department of Real Estate in 2020.

Capitol Riot Investigation Continues

More than 1,450 individuals have been charged in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 500 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, a felony.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Fact-Checking Biden’s News Conference at the NATO Summit

DON'T MISS

Fresno Dems Make Endorsements Early. Why?

DON'T MISS

End of the Roar: Porsche Bids Farewell to the 718 Internal Combustion Engine

DON'T MISS

Does Joe Biden Realize How Angry These Michigan Voters Are?

DON'T MISS

Vacaville Police Officer Killed While Making a Traffic Stop

DON'T MISS

Sean Burroughs, Former Little League Star and MLB Player, Died of Fentanyl Overdose

DON'T MISS

Merced’s Former Bitwise Building Gets a New Tenant. Who’s Taking It Over?

DON'T MISS

Separating Fact From Fiction About California Homelessness

DON'T MISS

LL Cool J Relearned ‘How to Rap’ on His First Album in 11 Years, ‘the FORCE.’ Here’s How

DON'T MISS

UC Merced Begins NCAA Division II Sports Competition in 2025-26 Season

UP NEXT

Fresno Dems Make Endorsements Early. Why?

UP NEXT

End of the Roar: Porsche Bids Farewell to the 718 Internal Combustion Engine

UP NEXT

Does Joe Biden Realize How Angry These Michigan Voters Are?

UP NEXT

Vacaville Police Officer Killed While Making a Traffic Stop

UP NEXT

Sean Burroughs, Former Little League Star and MLB Player, Died of Fentanyl Overdose

UP NEXT

Merced’s Former Bitwise Building Gets a New Tenant. Who’s Taking It Over?

UP NEXT

Separating Fact From Fiction About California Homelessness

UP NEXT

LL Cool J Relearned ‘How to Rap’ on His First Album in 11 Years, ‘the FORCE.’ Here’s How

UP NEXT

UC Merced Begins NCAA Division II Sports Competition in 2025-26 Season

UP NEXT

Bill Belichick Joining ‘Inside the NFL’ for Upcoming Season

Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

Does Joe Biden Realize How Angry These Michigan Voters Are?

2 hours ago

Vacaville Police Officer Killed While Making a Traffic Stop

3 hours ago

Sean Burroughs, Former Little League Star and MLB Player, Died of Fentanyl Overdose

3 hours ago

Merced’s Former Bitwise Building Gets a New Tenant. Who’s Taking It Over?

4 hours ago

Separating Fact From Fiction About California Homelessness

4 hours ago

LL Cool J Relearned ‘How to Rap’ on His First Album in 11 Years, ‘the FORCE.’ Here’s How

4 hours ago

UC Merced Begins NCAA Division II Sports Competition in 2025-26 Season

4 hours ago

Bill Belichick Joining ‘Inside the NFL’ for Upcoming Season

4 hours ago

Alec Baldwin Trial Halted as Judge Reviews Defense Motion to Dismiss Due to Ammo Dispute

4 hours ago

A Packed Fresno City Hall Witnesses Badhesha’s Historic Moment for Sikhs

4 hours ago

Fact-Checking Biden’s News Conference at the NATO Summit

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden fielded questions about foreign policy and his age and fitness for office during a high-stakes news confere...

43 mins ago

43 mins ago

Fact-Checking Biden’s News Conference at the NATO Summit

49 mins ago

Fresno Dems Make Endorsements Early. Why?

2 hours ago

End of the Roar: Porsche Bids Farewell to the 718 Internal Combustion Engine

2 hours ago

Does Joe Biden Realize How Angry These Michigan Voters Are?

3 hours ago

Vacaville Police Officer Killed While Making a Traffic Stop

3 hours ago

Sean Burroughs, Former Little League Star and MLB Player, Died of Fentanyl Overdose

4 hours ago

Merced’s Former Bitwise Building Gets a New Tenant. Who’s Taking It Over?

4 hours ago

Separating Fact From Fiction About California Homelessness

Search

Send this to a friend