Top Trump donor funded rally that preceded US Capitol riot, reports WSJ

A pro-Trump mob storms the Capitol building in Washington, Jan 6, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - An heiress to the Publix Super Markets chain donated about US$300,000 (S$400,000) to fund a rally that preceded the deadly storming of the US Capitol this month by supporters of former President Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday (Jan 30).

The Journal said the funding from Julie Jenkins Fancelli, a prominent donor to Trump's 2020 campaign, was facilitated by far-right show host Alex Jones.

It said her money paid for the lion's share of the roughly US$500,000 rally at the Ellipse park where Trump spoke and urged his supporters to "to fight."

More than 135 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol as Congress met to certify Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the November election.

Five people including a Capitol police officer died.

According to the Journal, Jones personally pledged more than US$50,000 in seed money for the rally in exchange for a speaking slot of his choice.

Jones, who has publicised discredited conspiracy theories, has hosted leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, two extremist groups that were prominent at the riot, on his popular radio and Internet video shows, it said.

Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Fancelli could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a Twitter post, Publix Super Markets said Fancelli is not an employee of the chain, "and is neither involved in our business operations, nor does she represent the company in any way. We cannot comment on Mrs Fancelli's actions."

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