George Santos, the lying and indicted GOP congressman from Queens, New York, has steadfastly refused to say where he was on January 6, 2021, while pro-Trump rioters were attacking the US Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory. He was filmed that day in the VIP section for the Donald Trump rally at the Ellipse that preceded the assault, but his post-rally whereabouts remain a mystery. Yet newly uncovered photos and video footage of January 6 show that his attorney, Joseph Murray, was in the angry pro-Trump mob that trespassed on Capitol grounds.
Archived footage obtained by Mother Jones from that day traces the movements of Murray and Angela Ng, who is identified on the website of Murray’s law firm as its office manager, as they marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol. Both Murray and Ng are retired New York police officers. Ng is also currently listed as working for Santos in his Queens district office as a constituent services representative, according to LegiStorm. Part of the throng of irate Trump loyalists, Murray and Ng passed downed barricades, entered restricted grounds, and made their way up the steps of the north side of the building. There they watched and Murray filmed, as hundreds of rioters nearby broke doors of the Capitol and poured into the building.
Murray has represented Santos, ever since Santos’ surprise election to Congress last year triggered an avalanche of controversies and probes. When Santos appeared in federal court on Long Island on May 10 and pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of money laundering, wire fraud, and stealing public funds, Murray was next to him. Murray has regularly showed up in news reports declining to comment on the latest Santos revelations.
Murray, who was arrested for felony assault in 1993 for breaking the jaw of a fellow cop but later not indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, ran for Queens district attorney in 2019 as a pro-Trump law-and-order Republican. During that campaign, Murray often told the tale of his arrest and his subsequent legal battles. He lost to Democrat Melinda Katz by 79,000 votes. He and Santos have been political allies since at least late 2019, appearing together on podcasts and at Queens Republican events, according to multiple Republican sources from New York.
In the available photos and footage of January 6, Murray and Ng are not seen committing any acts of violence at the Capitol or entering the building. Murray watched as the doors on the northwest wing of the Capitol were breached by an angry crowd at 2:42 p.m. Around this time, he was standing beside former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley, who was later charged for his role in the riot, while someone yelled, “We are coming for you, Nancy.” (Kelley is scheduled to go on trial July 31.)
Earlier, as Murray and Ng marched toward the Capitol, Murray seemingly spoke with an unidentified rioter dubbed “Insider2330” by the group of independent researchers known as the Sedition Hunters, who have been studying video and photos of the rioters to identify the marauders. Insider2330 was one of the first people to enter the Capitol, according to a member of the Sedition Hunters group. He and Murray apparently talked after Insider2330 had left the Capitol building. The Sedition Hunters, who have shared their research with reporters and the FBI, provided some of the footage of Murray to Mother Jones.
Murray and Ng did not respond to multiple emails, text messages, and phone calls requesting comment. Santos’ office did not respond to inquiries about Murray’s and Ng’s participation in the January 6 protest on the Capitol grounds or Ng’s employment at Santos’ district office.
Queens Republican district leader Philip Grillo, who was arrested in February 2021 and accused of entering the Capitol through a broken window, tells Mother Jones that he saw Murray on January 6: “He was leading the charge up the hill. He was urging us on, waving us to follow him.”
Grillo says he lost track of Murray after seeing him on the Capitol lawn. Grillo admitted to the FBI he entered the Capitol, according to a search warrant application first obtained by the Daily Beast, but he claimed he was drunk and didn’t realize his actions were illegal. (Grillo is awaiting trial.) A photograph that the Sedition Hunters helped Mother Jones obtain shows the two Queens men talking at the entrance to the Capitol grounds before Murray headed toward the building at approximately 2:30 p.m. (Last month, Grillo announced his intention to challenge Santos for the GOP nomination in the 3rd Congressional District in 2024. He says he still supports Santos but doesn’t believe Santos can collect enough signatures to secure a spot on the ballot.)
Though Santos has declined to disclose where he was while the Capitol was stormed, Grillo says that Santos later told him he had been in a hotel room during the riot. The day before January 6, Santos spoke at a pre-rally event and declared that his 2020 congressional election, which he lost by 46,000 votes, was also stolen. In a 2022 video of Santos at a Long Island GOP event first obtained by Newsday, Santos boasted that he “wrote a nice check to a law firm to see if we can help” accused January 6 insurrectionists. No evidence of this legal donation could be located by Mother Jones.
Santos’ office did not answer inquiries from Mother Jones regarding this check or his whereabouts on January 6.
A former acquaintance of Murray, who asked not to be identified for fear of career retribution, says that on January 6 Murray texted people pictures of the scenes that day, showing rioters climbing the walls of the Capitol from a vantage point on the lawn. “I remember thinking, what was Murray doing?” this person said.
Murray, who became a criminal defense attorney after leaving the police force in 2002, was a registered Democrat who began supporting Trump before his run for Queens district attorney in 2019, he said in multiple interviews during that election. In a 2019 interview with the Queens Eagle, he declared, “We need law and order. In a civilized society, you have a problem with the police, you hire a lawyer. You fight the police there. Not in the streets.”
Murray tweeted prolifically in the run-up to January 6, once amplifying the slogan “fight for Trump.” In a tweet sent out on December 26, 2020, which was accessed via the Internet Archive, he said, “We will be gathered outside our Nation’s Capitol bldg on Jan 6th waiting and watching to see who has the courage to stand up for our republic and who the cowards are. Those who do not stand up for our republic will be voted out of office!” He added three American flag emojis to the tweet. In another tweet that day, he told a critic of the pro-Trump protests, “Do us all a favor and just stay out of the way on January 6th. There’re already enough cowards in Congress that will be there.”
Earlier that month, Murray tweeted, “I am going to ask President Trump to appoint me as Attorney General or US Attorney and I will clean up all of this corruption in government that is destroying our republic!” Murray deleted his Twitter account after Twitter banned Trump from the site on January 8, 2021.
On July 25, 2021, Murray spoke at a “Justice 4 January 6th” event held in Foley Square in downtown Manhattan. The flier for the rally referred to the January rioters as “political prisoners” who were being “tortured” by the US government. Murray was introduced as “one of the attorneys that’s going to be helping” to defend the accused January 6 rioters. He called himself a “fighter” who “will fight to the end.” He did not mention his own presence in the January 6 mob.