New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman pleads guilty to falsely setting off a fire alarm in the Capitol late last month as part of a plea deal.
Following an investigation by the Capitol Police, the Superior Court in Washington, D.C., decided to indict Bowman Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge that could lead him to face up to six months in jail if convicted.
Charging documents indicate "probable cause to believe that the defendant willfully or knowingly gave a false fire alarm within the District of Columbia." An event that occurred just before a critical vote was taken to avoid a government shutdown.
An arraignment is scheduled for Thursday morning. However, it was already announced that Bowman reached a plea agreement with the Deputy Attorney General of Washington D.C., Peter Saba, only to have to pay a fine of $1,000 and have his charge dropped.
"I am responsible for activating a fire alarm, I will be paying the fine issued, and look forward to these charges being ultimately dropped," Bowman said in a statement he published on social media.
Statement from Congressman Jamaal Bowman pic.twitter.com/n4NT5k0vjt
— Congressman Jamaal Bowman (@RepBowman) October 25, 2023
Bowman faces calls for expulsion
Even if the representative manages to pay his fine and move forward, Bowman also faces calls for expulsion.
"This is the United States Congress. It's not a New York City public high school. And of all people, Jamaal Bowman knows the old fire alarm trick because he was a high school principal. And quite frankly, when he was the high school principal, there were serious ramifications if a student were to do that... including expulsion," said Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican representative who wrote the resolution for his impeachment.
— VOZ (@Voz_US) September 30, 2023
Bowman maintains that he set off the fire alarm by mistake and did not deliberately attempt to delay the vote on the GOP stopgap spending bill. However, several GOP representatives claim this was just one of several tactics Democrats used to avoid the vote.
"First, they tried to do a motion to adjourn. Then they tried to speak on the floor. Hakeem Jeffries gave a very long speech to try to further delay the vote, and then you saw the fire alarm pulled. So… it's these types of antics that the Democrats are resorting to try to disrupt proceedings," Malliotakis expressed.