Nassau attorney and former East Williston school board trustee John O’Kelly was arrested Thursday for his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to the federal prosecutors.
O’Kelly, 66, is charged with felony charges of assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement officers and interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, along with related misdemeanor offenses, officials said.
The Long Island Federal Defenders Office, which represented O’Kelly during his arraignment, did not immediately return a request for comment from Blank Slate Media.
O’Kelly previously had a controversial letter published in Blank Slate Media’s six newspapers following the election of former President Donald Trump which was viewed by many as antisemitic.
The letter, published in December 2016, lauded Trump’s victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton despite the efforts of “anti-Christian, anti-U.S. globalists, led by George Soros.”
O’Kelly described Soros as a “Rothschild banker,” referencing the notable European Jewish banking family that many conspiracy theorists and antisemitic groups claim controls the world’s governments.
The attorney went on to say that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Christianity and nationalism clash “with the bankers’ plan for an international, atheistic, totalitarian world order.” He said both leaders strive to achieve “peace and prosperity” compared to “the bankers want[ing] war and debt.”
He also claimed Soros was “an agent of the international bankers” and called for him to be “charged, arrested, tried, convicted and imprisoned for his actions, including his funding of Black Lives Matter and Move-On.Org.”
O’Kelly said Soros put President Barack Obama in the White House, calling the former commander-in-chief “another anti-Christian, anti-American globalist.”
Blank Slate Media Editor and Publisher Steven Blank apologized for publishing O’Kelly’s letter, which prompted the company to refrain from running others containing derogatory and offensive language about marginalized groups.
Kelly, following the apology, said his criticisms of powerful Jewish figures should not be viewed as insults and that he was opposed to “censorship.” The apology followed decisions by Temple Sinai of Roslyn and the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation to boycott Blank Slate Media.
Additionally, O’Kelly was at the center of a heated debate more than a decade ago when the Mineola School District proposed to lease of the Cross Street School to the Solomon Schechter Day School of Glen Cove.
O’Kelly, who was not a resident of the Mineola School District, said he obtained a copy of the proposed lease agreement between Mineola School district and Solomon Schechter Day School using a Freedom of Information Law request.
In it, there were a number of projects that would cost Mineola taxpayers more than they were taking in from rent revenues, according to O’Kelly. “In summary there is no net revenue to the district to be realized from the proposed lease.”
He criticized the plan and Mineola Superintendent Michael Nagler in various letters sent to Blank Slate Media and even mentioned St. Aidan’s School, which is located on Willis Avenue, across the street from the Cross Street School in Williston Park.
Concerns about antisemitism were raised about O’Kelly’s opposition to the purchase by the Jewish school.
O’Kelly also served on the Lawyer’s Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, a group that claims explosives were planted at the World Trade Center before the attacks, which sued the U.S. government in 2021, according to NBC News.
The FBI released photos of O’Kelly, who reportedly had a reservation at the Residence Inn Arlington Ballston hotel in Virginia near the Capitol the day before the riots. He was identified by an online tipster, officials said.
Nearly 900 individuals have been arrested in relation to the insurrection, officials said. More than 270 have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.