Sullivan County native charged with role in Capitol riot left a trail of evidence online
The 25-year-old Sullivan County native charged last weekend with participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot is a former school wrestler who dropped out of college after a year and has started a series of online businesses, including a modeling agency and a social media platform.
Jake Lang, a 2013 graduate of Delaware Valley High School in Pike County, Pa., faces four federal counts after being captured in photos and videos wielding a baseball bat and riot shield in the midst of a pro-Trump mob storming the Capitol, according to an FBI agent's court statement. He was arrested in Newburgh on Jan. 16 and released three days later to await prosecution.
His father, Ned, a former Town of Tusten councilman who owns several businesses in Narrowsburg, declined to speak to the Times Herald-Record this week. But he emailed a statement to the weekly River Reporter in which he blamed his son's arrest on his struggle with substance abuse, which he said began in his early teens.
"Jake has had a substance abuse problem," the father wrote. "As a result, he has had numerous issues with law enforcement over the past 11 years and it has only gotten worse, as is evidenced by his most recent arrest and actions at our nation’s Capitol! We are praying for my son that he conquers his addictions and finds a new path forward in his life!”
Jake Lang's attorney, Steven Metcalf, didn't respond to phone calls. Lang's mother, Sari Nan Lang, who lives in Florida, hung up when contacted by a reporter.
Her son could not be reached. Public records show he has had an address in the East Village of Manhattan for the last five years, but where he currently lives is unclear.
Lang, whose full name is Edward Jacob Lang, is one of three Hudson Valley men among the dozens of suspects charged so far in connection with the Capitol attack, which disrupted the certification of Joe Biden's election victory and resulted in five deaths, including a police officer. The other two local suspects are William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, and Christopher Kelly, 44, of New City.
According to the FBI statement, Lang posted photos of himself at the Capitol from the day of the riot to the day before his arrest, despite the cascading roundup of suspects who incriminated themselves that way. He even added the words "THIS IS ME" with a pointing finger to one image of rioters attacking police to get inside the Capitol.
"I was the leader of Liberty today," he boasted to authorities under a photo he put on Facebook hours after the riot and later reproduced in the FBI statement. "Arrest me. You are on the wrong side of history."
An outline of Lang's background drawn from social media posts, websites and published reports indicates he went to Hunter College in Manhattan, wrestled for its team as he had done in high school, and left after one year in 2014. He then start selling a line of hats called "Harlem Pusher," moved on to vaping products, and in 2017 started an online modeling agency called Social Model Management.
Lang - who describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur" on his LinkedIn page - also has launched a Facebook-like platform called Liberty Centric. On Liberty Centric's Instagram account, it is described in the bio as a free, USA-based, anti-censorship, anti-fact-checking virtual public square, and sets two main rules for its users: post nothing illegal and "Love God with all your Heart."
When libertycentric.com began and how many people use it is unclear. Only three appeared to be online on Thursday afternoon when the Record created a Liberty Centric account, and one was an administrator's account with Lang's photo.
Lang's most recent post on that site - on Jan. 16, the day of his arrest - promoted what appeared to be his newest venture: a line of religious-themed apparel called Christ Energy Forever. Other posts on his profile include a short video and a photo of Lang at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but were published days after the riot and did not depict violence.
Multiple charges after Capitol riot
The charges against Lang include assaulting, resisting, or impeding police officers; civil disorder; entering restricted building or grounds; and violent entry or disorderly conduct.
A childhood acquaintance and other people alerted authorities to Lang's social media posts, according to the FBI statement. Among the photos reproduced in that document: one of Lang with outstretched arms on the Capitol steps with the caption, "1776 has commenced"; others showing him wearing a police helmet and gas mask in the rampaging mob; and one with a message saying he saw a woman die during the riot, claiming he was shot in the foot and accusing police of "murder."
"This is an act of WAR by TYRANTS against the American people," he said, declaring he incurred his gunshot and other injuries in defense of freedom, liberty and the Constitution.
Two days before his arrest, Lang posted an Instagram story thanking the people who had praised him as a patriot.
“Been really amazing to have this impact on the community, going to keep on fighting for you guys, we got some big things planned," he wrote in that post, as quoted in the FBI statement. "We are not going to let them take our Constitutional Liberties. Our God-given rights are safe within the hearts of the patriots. So we won’t give up."