Jon Lizak, former president of Binghamton University’s College Republicans, has been charged with breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Along with a group of four others, Lizak had traveled to the U.S. Capitol and remained inside for approximately 35 minutes, according to court documents. The group allegedly roamed through the building and entered the office of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Lizak is now facing misdemeanor charges, and was released on bond on Sept. 22.
Lizak was the only member of the group who was a former BU student, with the others having no known relation to the University. While four of the men face misdemeanor charges, one of them — Joseph Brody, 23, of Virginia — is charged with a felony for assaulting a U.S. Capitol police officer with a metal barricade.
“Brody’s associates watched as he assaulted this law enforcement officer,” the affidavit reads. “The group then watched the destruction of media equipment, which had been surrounded by metal barricades.”
For the past two years, Lizak has also been at the helm of a lawsuit against BU, claiming a violation of freedom of speech. The lawsuit stemmed from the disruption of a tabling event in fall 2019 — organized by conservative activist group Turning Point USA and the BU College Republicans — by hundreds of protestors.
The semester following the tabling event, Lizak became president of the College Republicans, remaining at the post until spring 2022 — though the club had become dormant during COVID-19, according to its members.
In an email statement, the College Republicans denounced Lizak’s actions.
“His actions at the [U.S.] Capitol Building are not representative of this club or what we stand for,” the College Republicans wrote. “Furthermore, we believe that conservatism rejects political violence and radicalism as a means for change.”
Investigators determined that the five men involved in the breaching of the U.S. Capitol, including Lizak, were part of America First, a group that advocates against demographic shifts in the U.S. According to the affidavit, the men had met at prior America First events, as well as at a “Stop the Steal, March for Trump” rally on Nov. 14, 2020.
The group had allegedly traveled to Washington, D.C. around a day prior to the storming of the U.S. Capitol, gathering from across the East Coast. They first entered the building from the Senate Wing Door before entering various restricted areas, including the Rotunda and third-floor hallways, according to court documents.
Lizak had cut off ties with the College Republicans after spring 2022, according to a statement from the organization. Logan Blakeslee, interim president of the College Republicans and a senior majoring in history, wrote that he was “not surprised” by Lizak’s alleged actions.
“He was adamant in his belief that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, and he labeled Republicans who thought otherwise as [Republicans in Name Only],” Blakeslee wrote. “Lizak broke the law because of an unfounded theory about voter fraud.”
Following their fall 2019 tabling event, the College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a conservative youth group, had hosted Arthur Laffer — former economic advisor to former President Ronald Reagan and former President Donald Trump. The event was disrupted by protestors, leading to Lizak, the College Republicans and the YAF suing University officials, the Student Association, the College Progressives and local activist group Progressive Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT).
Andrew Hruska, an attorney at King & Spalding LLP representing Lizak in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the impact of Lizak’s recent arrest.
Brody was the only member of the group accused of entering the Senate Chamber, though Lizak had allegedly called him while he was inside. Brody and Lizak then left the building at 2:51:40 p.m., the affidavit stated, as all the men gathered on the U.S. Capitol’s North Side.
It was there that Brody allegedly assaulted a Capitol police officer, while the other men stood by. Then, Brody had damaged media equipment, according to the affidavit — which cited video evidence.
“Several open-source videos and images captured this incident, including Brody and his group both observing and participating in the destruction,” the affidavit reads.
Lizak and one of the other men had been arrested on Sept. 15., joining over 870 individuals arrested for breaching the U.S. Capitol and related crimes. The investigation remains ongoing, and Lizak will appear in court in Washington D.C. on Nov. 17.
The College Republicans denounced the events of Jan. 6 in their statement, describing it as in violation of the values of both the club and the country in whole.
“College Republicans have always supported free speech and the right to protest,” the College Republicans wrote. “However, what took place during the Capitol Riots was an abuse of the freedoms we hold so dear.”
Pipe Dream was unable to verify Lizak’s graduation status, however Lizak is not listed in BU’s student directory.