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"My client’s brother has nothing to do with the allegations against my client," an attorney for the alleged rioter said

By Sean Neumann
January 25, 2021 05:42 PM
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Scott Fairlamb
FBI
| Credit: FBI

A man who faces five federal charges for his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building has a brother in the Secret Service who once led former First Lady Michelle Obama's security detail.

Scott Fairlamb, a New Jersey gym owner, was charged last Thursday in a Washington, D.C. federal court on five counts related to the U.S. Capitol riot, including assaulting a federal officer, carrying a dangerous weapon, and "violent entry" on Capitol Grounds.

Scott Fairlamb is the brother of Preston Fairlamb III, a Secret Service agent who led the former first lady's detail while she was in office.

In her 2018 memoir Becoming, Mrs. Obama opened up about some of the agents who protected her and the former first family during her husband President Barack Obama's two terms in office.

"All of us grew close to our agents over time. Preston Fairlamb led my detail then," the former first lady wrote in the book, CNN reported.

The Huffington Post, who first reported the connection, also noted that Mrs. Obama had wrote that she and Preston Fairlamb had "became real friends."

PEOPLE's attempts to reach Preston Fairlamb were unsuccessful.

A defense attorney for his brother Scott, New Jersey-based lawyer Harley Breite, told CNN and the Post that Preston was not aware of or involved with his brother's alleged actions during the pro-Donald Trump riot.

"My client's brother has nothing to do with the allegations against my client and was not made aware ― nor was aware ― that my client may have even traveled to the Capitol," Breite told the Post.

pro Trump protesters breach Capitol building
Rioters at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021
| Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty
capitol coup
Riots at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6
| Credit: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Scott Fairlamb was charged last Thursday amid a wave of arrests this month following the riot at the Capitol building.

According to a federal filing detailing Scott Fairlamb's charges, multiple concerned citizens had sent videos to the FBI which allegedly show the New Jersey gym owner "shove and punch" an officer outside the building.

Spokespersons for the Obamas and the Secret Service did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on Monday.

In a statement after the attack, Mrs. Obama passionately denounced the rioters.

"They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government," the former first lady wrote, adding that the Jan. 6 riot had made her heart fall "harder and faster than I can remember."

Federal authorities have continued to announce new arrests and ask the public for help identifying rioters who allegedly took part in the violent Jan. 6 insurrection.

At a press conference earlier this month, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin said federal officials are "looking to build significant felony cases tied to sedition and conspiracy."

"Regardless of if it was just a trespass in the Capitol or if someone planted a pipe bomb, you will be charged and you will be found," Sherwin said.