The mayor of Derby, Connecticut, is dismissing news that a fellow Republican elected official in his town entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Gino DiGiovanni Jr., a Republican on the Board of Alders in Derby, recently confirmed to NBC Connecticut that he entered the U.S. Capitol during an attempt to overturn election results. DiGiovanni did not respond to a request for comment, but his colleague did.

“Politics, pure and simple,” Mayor Richard Dziekan said in a written statement emailed to Connecticut Public. “If Gino we’re not a elected [sic] Republican official it would have never seen the light of day.”

DiGiovanni was recently shown photographic evidence of him entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by NBC Connecticut investigative reporter Len Besthoff.

“I went inside there,” DiGiovanni told Besthoff on a recent TV report, “and I didn’t damage or break anything.”

Dziekan also notes that DiGiovanni wasn’t an elected official when he walked into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The alderman won his seat the following November.

In response to Besthoff’s question of whether he thought the 2020 U.S. presidential election was stolen, DiGiovanni said, “I think there’s some discrepancies there.”

A nonpartisan group attempting to hold public officials accountable for their roles in the storming of the U.S. Capitol says DiGiovanni’s behavior – and current status as an elected official – is “problematic.”

“It is highly problematic for elected officials who are supposed to hold positions of public trust to, not just disbelieve that we had a free and fair election, but to have engaged in a violent effort to overthrow a free and fair election,” said Donald Sherman, a senior vice president and chief counsel for a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, D.C.

Sherman says people like DiGiovanni should be prosecuted for violating federal law.

“This is probably a matter of when, not if, because the FBI has prioritized people that attacked police officers and other people who were engaged in either outwardly violent behavior or that were easily identifiable.”

Sherman says elected officials convicted after participating on Jan. 6 should be removed from office.

Connecticut Public reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice to ask about DiGiovanni. A DOJ spokesperson said he wouldn’t comment on any ongoing Jan. 6 investigations.

DiGiovanni’s “time is coming,” says Sherman.

This story was originally published on Nov. 1, 2022 by Connecticut Public.