“Squad” Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court on charges that he illegally pulled a House office building fire alarm.
D.C. Assistant Attorney General Peter Saba criminally charged Bowman with a misdemeanor for causing a false fire alarm in the Cannon House Office Building ahead of a September 30 vote.
Bowman, 47, turned himself in on Thursday morning ahead of his arraignment, wearing a navy suit, striped shirt, a blue tie, and carrying a gray backpack. He pleaded guilty to causing the false alarm.
The New York Democrat told reporters ahead of the arraignment that he is “taking responsibility” for causing the false alarm and that “Hell no” he didn’t mean to pull the alarm.
“What I did was against D.C. law,” Bowman said. “As I said from the very beginning, I was not trying to disrupt any congressional proceedings, I’m glad the investigation yielded that.”
Bowman pulled the fire alarm ahead of a crucial vote as the GOP pushed a critical stopgap funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.
Bowman got a plea deal: write a letter of apology to the U.S. Capitol Police and pay a $1,000 fine.
DC Superior Court Judge Dorsey Jones told Bowman that he could face six months in prison and a $1,000 fine if he does not write the letter of apology.
Bowman’s office told Fox News Digital that the congressman’s deal with the D.C. attorney general would see the charges withdrawn if he writes the letter and pays the fine.
“I’m thankful for the quick resolution from the District of Columbia Attorney General’s office on this issue and grateful that the United States Capitol Police General Counsel’s office agreed I did not obstruct nor intend to obstruct any House vote or proceedings,” Bowman told Fox News Digital. “I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped.”
“I think we all know that Republicans will attempt to use this to distract everyone from their mess, but I look forward to putting this behind me and to continue working hard to deliver for New Yorkers,” he continued.
Bowman will have a review hearing on January 29, 2024 at 9:30 a.m.
Bowman said on Wednesday that he was “thankful for the quick resolution” with law enforcement. The D.C. attorney general’s office told the press on Wednesday that Bowman would be “pleading guilty and has agreed to pay the maximum fine.”
“I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped,” Bowman said.
An arrest warrant filed by U.S. Capitol Police Supervisory Special Agent Joseph McAtee says police were notified on Sept. 30 at 12:05 p.m. that a fire alarm had been pulled inside the Cannon House Office Building on the second floor.
When Bowman was interviewed by Capitol Police agents, he told them he responded “yes” when asked if he knew anything about the fire alarm. The Democratic representative said he was in a rush because votes were being called, adding that the door is usually open.
Bowman, according to the arrest warrant, told the agents he saw the nearby doors with a sign that said, “emergency exit only push to open,” so “he pushed on the door and pulled the lever next to it, which must have been the alarm.”
“[Bowman] advised that usually when votes are called, all doors are open, and that door is usually open (the second-floor door leading to Independence Ave). The defendant further stated that this door was a usual door he uses. The defendant advised that he then went to a Dem (Democratic) meeting and a vote at the Capitol, then the House Sergeant at Arms contacted him,” the warrant states.
Bowman told the agent he didn’t intend to pull a fire alarm and didn’t intend to disrupt or obstruct a congressional proceeding, then stated that he needed to get a lawyer and wouldn’t make any further statements.
The agent wrote in the arrest warrant there was a sign next to the door that said “Emergency Exit Only,” adding that the fire alarm had lettering that said, “FIRE. Push in Pull Down.” Security camera footage reviewed by Capitol Police allegedly revealed that Bowman attempted to open both doors before pulling the fire alarm, then walked away.
Fox News Digital’s Adam Sabes, Jake Gibson, and Aubrie Spady contributed reporting.
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