A Florida Rabbi was arrested Friday and is facing several federal charges after he entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the United States DOJ.
Michael Stepakoff, a rabbi of the Temple New Jerusalem, a messianic synagogue in Palm Harbor, can be seen on CCTV and social media posts at and in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th.
The FBI said that when reviewing the CCTV footage, Stepakoff can be seen taking approximately eight photographs using his cellular phone, while inside the U.S. Capitol Building,
Investigators say that while inside the U.S. Capitol, Stepakoff can be seen wearing a dark-colored hat with white lettering on the front, a green-colored jacket, blue jeans, and brown boots.
On January 6, 2021, multiple photographs were posted to a Facebook account with the username “Michael Stepakoff” showing an individual identified as Stepakoff outside the United States Capitol Building
These photographs include a “selfie” styled photograph of Stepakoff in a large group of people outside the U.S Capitol Building. The clothing
and hat in the photograph are consistent with the clothing and hat observed in the CCTV footage.
When interviewed by the FBI, a witness, who has known Stepakoff for approximately twenty years and who is familiar with what Stepakoff looks like, identified the individual highlighted in the photos as Stepakoff.
Other photographs posted to the same Facebook account show outward-facing photographs of a large group of people near doors and windows of
the U.S Capitol Building.
Also on January 6, 2021, a post to the Facebook account in the name of “T*** S” stated, “Update on Michael y’all…please continue to prayers for his protection and to be safe. He texted me privately and said he is okay but it’s very dangerous where he is- He was inside the Capital Building…” Open source records indicate that T.S. is the spouse of Michael Stepakoff.
Michael Stepakoff is being charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in any restricted building or grounds, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.