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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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MyPillow guy’s conspiracy videos put Capitol rioter back in jail

Douglas Austin Jensen wasted little time before returning to political conspiracy theories in violation of an order that let the QAnon adherent go home to await trial for attempting to overthrow the U.S. government.

WASHINGTON (CN) — A Capitol rioter caught watching conspiracy videos in his garage not even a month after a judge let him go home must return to jail, the court ruled Thursday. 

“I ordered these conditions because of the role that internet conspiracies played in his conduct — conduct that is alleged to be violent and serious,” U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said of Douglas Austin Jensen this morning during a hearing in Washington. 

As quoted in the FBI's notes, Jensen was arrested back home in Iowa two days after joining the mob that pushed its way into the Capitol building on Jan. 6. He told investigators that he placed himself front and center of the crowd so his QAnon shirt would be recognized, and “Q could get the credit.”

Jensen climbed through a broken window to enter the Capitol with a knife in his pocket, and refused multiple orders from law enforcement to stop. At one point, Jense menacingly chased U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up the stairs while shouting at him. 

“He will not take orders from anyone, he cannot be trusted,” federal prosecutor Hava Arin Levenson Mirell said in court Thursday. “He will waste no more time in ignoring this court’s orders.”

Jensen spent six months in a Washington jail cell awaiting trial before securing bond. As part of the terms of that July 14 release, Jensen was prohibited from accessing the internet or internet-capable devices, and also barred from learning the passwords to his family’s devices. 

Prosecutors pushed to revoke that bond on Aug. 19, writing in a motion that a surprise visit to Jensen's home by pretrial services found the man streaming news from the conservative video website Rumble on an iPhone that used to be his daughter’s.

Jensen made a myriad of excuses, and eventually said that his wife, who served as his third-party custodian, had left the news on for him when she left for work in the morning. He admitted that he had been in possession of the iPhone for two weeks, with two days devoted to watching MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium about the illegitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. 

The government says Jensen's swift violation of the conditions of his release confirms that he was only acting when he disavowed QAnon during his July 13 bond hearing. Jensen had claimed at the time to be cured of his “addiction” to conspiracy videos, and recognized that he had “bought into a path of lies.”

“I do liken this to an addiction,” Jensen’s defense attorney Christopher Michael Davis told the court Thursday. “Why else would someone spend six months incarcerated, get released, have full compliance with every other condition. ... Why would he do this? I don’t have a good answer to this.”

Davis lobbied for the judge to give Jensen one more chance since he had complied with all of the other conditions of his release and is currently in therapy

“I almost liken it to a compulsion,” Davis said, arguing that Jensen is not a danger to the community. “It just doesn’t add up. This is an intelligent man, he understands.”

Jensen was charged with seven offenses for his conduct on Jan. 6, including several felonies: the assault of a police officer, the obstruction of law enforcement and entering a restricted building with a deadly weapon. 

At the hearing, pretrial services officers said they had lost confidence that Jensen would be able to abide by the conditions of his release, and that Jensen’s wife, April, was suitable as a third-party custodian. 

“Given his inability to comply, given two instances very close together, and failure to understand the severity of the potential consequences, I don’t see any reason to believe that he’s had the wake up call that he needs,” Kelly said. 

Jensen will be held at a jail in Iowa. 

Follow Samantha Hawkins on Twitter

Categories / Criminal, Media, Politics

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