Chicago area brothers change pleas in Jan. 6 US Capitol riot charges

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff and Christine Tressel WLS logo
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Chicago area brothers will plead gulty to January 6 charges
Two Chicago-area brothers charged with battering police in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot will be changing their pleas, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There will be change of plea for two Chicago-area brothers charged with battering police in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

The ABC7 I-Team has learned Daniel Leyden, 55, of Chicago, and his brother, Joseph Leyden, 56, of west suburban La Grange have planned guilty plea deals with federal prosecutors in a couple weeks.

According to prosecutors, the Leyden brothers, who are both electricians, are seen in video at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in violent clashes with officers.

Both men are facing felony counts of interfering with law enforcement during a civil disorder along with four misdemeanors.

Daniel Leyden works as an electrician for the Chicago Park District and his brother Joseph, also an electrician by trade, lives in LaGrange.

Daniel is accused of repeatedly lifting and pushing a barricade that contributed to officers' injuries, including one who was left unconscious.

Investigators claim photos show Joseph lunging at officers and aggressively pushing a DC Metro police officer.

Right after they were arrested last summer, ABC7's chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor in Chicago Gil Soffer weighed in on the cases.

"It may be that we're seeing this kind of aggressiveness in the charges because these two were on the front lines; literally at the barricades. One of them made direct contact with the police officer, one of them through a barricade or close to it. And, it may be the Department of Justice saying with these kinds of charges where it's something more than just demonstrating; we're going to throw the book," Soffer said.

The Leyden brothers first appeared in federal court at the Dirksen Building in downtown Chicago donning COVID masks while leaving the building, appearing to evade the I-Team.

They entered pleas of not guilty and for months their cases wound through the court in D.C. with hundreds of other January 6 prosecutions.

Their cases will end, it appears, as have most January 6th cases: with guilty pleas.