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Capitol rioter who stole ‘do not enter’ sign pleads guilty

Philip Kramer said he has been subject to persecution for his political beliefs over the past four years, so he brought weapons to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 for protection.

WASHINGTON (CN) — A Capitol rioter who brought weapons to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and took a “do not enter” sign from the building pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. 

Philip Kramer, from California, came to the Capitol on Jan. 6 equipped with a helmet, a walking cane and climbing rope with a Master Lock attached to it — items he intended to use “in case someone was coming at my throat or something,” according to an interview with FBI agents recounted in the complaint against him

Though he took a “do not enter” sign from the Capitol, Kramer told agents that he threw it away upon his return to California because he knew that he shouldn’t have taken it and got scared after he heard that things at the Capitol got “crazy.”

The next day, Kramer texted an FBI agent that he was an “average hard-working middle-class American that loves his country,” but has been subject to threats and vandalism for his political beliefs over the past four years. 

“That might explain a little of why I felt I needed the protection and only protection to defend myself if needed that day,” Kramer texted, relaying an instance when his American flag was stolen as well as drive-by harassment in the middle of the night targeting him and his family. 

The spouse of one of Kramer’s co-workers at the Jankovich Company told agents that Kramer said he had purchased a 2-by-4 to break into the Capitol. The witness also relayed that, after Kramer returned home from Washington, he acted agitated and claimed that there was going to be a war on the date of the inauguration of President Joe Biden: Jan. 20. 

In May, a month after his arrest, Kramer denied doing anything wrong to a local news site, The Orange County Register.

“I just know I did nothing wrong,” Kramer told a reporter over the phone. “I was there for the right reasons, not the wrong reasons.”

Kramer faces up to six months in prison for his actions, though will likely receive a much less severe sentence. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 7. 

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