Grafton County man charged in Capitol riot; Windsor County Republican says attendee’s post was a threat

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2021 10:39:33 PM
Modified: 1/10/2021 10:00:46 AM

WEST LEBANON — A 61-year-old Grafton County man is among at least 13 people charged in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, according to federal authorities.

Thomas Gallagher, of Bridgewater, N.H., was charged with two crimes — knowingly entering a restricted building or disorderly conduct with intent to impede government business, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a Friday news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Gallagher was among a crowd that was “shouting and cursing” at Capitol Police on the upper level of the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center near the door to the House Atrium and was arrested with five others after they refused to leave the building on Wednesday, according to an affidavit from Capitol Police Officer Joseph Bruno.

“These six individuals were positioned towards the front of the crowd, close to the Capitol Police Officers who were responding, and to the officer, who issued the order to leave. The six individuals, like others in the larger crowd, willfully refused the order to leave,” Bruno wrote.

Gallagher and the others were “were removed from the crowd, placed in handcuffs, and arrested,” and issued a citation to appear in District of Columbia Superior Court at a later date, Bruno wrote.

Efforts to reach Gallagher for comment on Saturday were unsuccessful.

The DOJ release also identified seven other people charged after the riot, including Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man photographed with his feet up on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Meanwhile, a prominent Windsor County Republican said he is concerned about a Facebook post he received Friday from another Vermont Republican who went to Washington for the protests.

After John MacGovern posted on a Windsor County GOP Facebook page applauding Republican Gov. Phil Scott’s call for President Donald Trump to be removed from office, Whitingham, Vt., resident John Lyddy replied, “U are corrupt and need a visit.”

In a phone interview on Saturday, MacGovern said he doesn’t personally know Lyddy, who unsuccessfully ran for state Senate in Windham County in November, but was disturbed by the language.

“I think it was a clearly a threat,” said MacGovern, who was the GOP nominee against U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2012, and served in the Massachusetts Legislature decades ago. “Having been raised a Republican in Massachusetts, I’m not one who is frightened by being in a minority, but I do think it was intended for that.”

Lyddy, a gun owner who fears Democrats will enact gun control legislation, said in an interview that he was not threatening MacGovern. Lyddy also said he was not threatening violence when he posted on Dec. 26, “While in DC I don’t want to miss the opportunity to pay a visit to CNN, MSNBC and the Washington Post. They soooooo deserve our attention. Maybe enter through the back door.”

“They need to be talked to. That’s not a threat,” Lyddy, a 67-year-old retired marketing executive, said Saturday. “You can’t just discount the truth, and that’s what’s been going on.”

Lyddy said he and his wife went to Washington to show support for delaying the certification of the presidential election, and asserted that the “the mainstream media continues to whitewash the fact that there were substantial irregularities in this election.”

Lyddy said he was not armed and that he and his wife did not enter the Capitol, but that they were close enough to see people entering through a broken doorway. He said he thought the ransacking of the building was “a disgrace,” but that the outdoor rally beforehand sent an important message.

“People were there to make a point, and when you have (a large crowd) chanting ‘USA’ and “Stop the Steal,’ and that sound reverberates off those buildings with that kind of intensity, you don’t forget it. We made our point. If it had stopped there, that would have been enough.”

But MacGovern, the Windsor Republican who ran for the Vermont House as an independent this fall because of his concerns about Trump, said he feels what took place in Washington on Wednesday “should have no place in the Republican party.”

“Put it this way, some people think that I should leave the party, and I feel he and people like him, I hope, will leave the party,” MacGovern said referring to Lyddy while citing the integrity and decency of Scott and U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who have both spoken out against Trump.

“I want that to be the Republican Party. It will be smaller party for sure, but that’s the way we need to rebuild it,” MacGovern said.

John Gregg can be reached at jgregg@

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