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Couple federally indicted for throwing smoke bombs at Michael Knowles event

The couple pleaded not guilty

A husband and wife face federal charges stemming from their disruption of an event at the University of Pittsburgh featuring Michael Knowles.

The Department of Justice announced its indictment of “Brian DiPippa, age 36, and his wife, Krystal DiPippa, age 40,” for “conspiracy and obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder.”

The couple are accused of using smoke bombs to disrupt a debate at Pitt in April between conservative Michael Knowles and libertarian Brad Polumbo on transgenderism and whether it should be regulated by law. The College Fix previously reported on the “incendiary device” thrown during violent protests against the event, which also included a picture of Knowles burned in effigy.

The DOJ announced on June 30:

According to the Indictment, on April 18, 2023, the DiPippas participated in a protest at the O’Hara Student Center on the University of Pittsburgh campus, at which time Brian DiPippa ignited and dropped two homemade smoke bomb containers in and around a line of persons waiting to enter the O’Hara Student Center to attend a scheduled event featuring guest speakers. The Indictment further alleges that, when Pitt Police officers gathered and formed a barrier to prevent the protesters from entering the rear of the building, Brian DiPippa, concealed by his wife, Krystal DiPippa, ignited and threw a large explosive firework into the group of Pitt officers, causing a loud explosion and injuries to several officers. Brian DiPippa was also charged with using an explosive to commit a federal felony.

Both have subsequently pleaded not guilty.

While the federal charges move forward, a leading conservative legal group is also in a dispute with Pitt officials over a security fee of nearly $20,000. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the campus College Republicans and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

The legal demand letter accused Pitt officials of being partially responsible for the disruptions at the event, as previously reported by The Fix.

“On March 16, Provost Ann Cudd referred to a recent speech by Knowles as ‘repugnant’ and ‘hate-filled rhetoric’ in a message she sent the Pitt Community,” ADF wrote in its accompanying news release.

MORE: UW-Madison liberals ‘physically sick’ and ‘hurt’ by Matt Walsh event

IMAGE: Michael Knowles/YouTube

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.