Friday, September 22, 2023
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Prison time ordered for rioter who boasted about police assault

The Las Vegas man will spend over three years in prison, triple the sentence given to another member of his insurrection "caravan."

WASHINGTON (CN) ­— Failure to show remorse resulted in a 37-month prison sentence Wednesday for a Nevada man who assaulted police officers and helped to breach the doors to the Capitol Rotunda and the Senate chamber at the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

Nathaniel DeGrave, 32, did offer an apology at his sentencing hearing and noted that he felt sick after watching the videos he made of his crimes, which the government played for the court.

“I’m super remorseful,” DeGrave said. “I feel like I’m a changed person, and I know I’ll never do anything like that again.”

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich seemed doubtful of DeGrave's sincerity, however, and pointed to videos in which the defendant bragged about his role in the riot, his attempts to destroy evidence and his lying to FBI agents.

DeGrave has been on house arrest since he pleaded guilty in 2022 to charges that carried a maximum of 28 years.

Friedrich highlighted an incident from just last week in which DeGrave took off his ankle monitor to go swimming with his girlfriend in a pool at his Las Vegas apartment complex.

She said that DeGrave came “prepared to engage in violence and storm the Capitol” and said this case had “the clearest evidence of intent to obstruct,” more so than any other Jan. 6 case she has presided over.

The charging papers note that DeGrave made extensive plans in the lead-up to Jan. 6 with two other men, Ronald Sandlin and Josiah Colt, to bring weapons to the Capitol in support of the outgoing President Donal Trump. A week before the riot, Sandlin urged friends on Facebook to consider joining or supporting their "caravan of patriots."

Sandlin, 34, received a sentence of 63 months in December, while Colt, 34, was sentenced Wednesday in a hearing right after DeGrave’s to a term of 15 months.

The criminal complaint against Josiah Colt shows him hanging from a ledge above the Senate floor on January 6, 2021. (DOJ via Courthouse News)

Justice Department attorney Jessica Arco said that the footage DeGrave recorded during the riot show he was “ready for and eager to perpetrate violence.”

One video showed DeGrave, wearing a black mask shaped like a human skull and tactical gear, part of a crowd pushing against Capitol Police officers guarding a door leading into the Capitol Rotunda and shouting for others to “kick it open.”

After DeGrave made his way into the Senate chamber, he said in another video that he had “punched that [officer] in the f***ing neck." The video continues as DeGrave chants “treason” with other rioters in the chamber.

Arco said that DeGrave viewed himself as “a true patriot, not some armchair warrior,” and was proud that his actions were “infinitely increasing the mayhem at the Capitol that day.”

Authorities note that DeGrave set up an online fundraiser for himself after he was arrested on Jan. 28, 2021. Supporters donated over $111,000 to the fundraiser that referred to DeGrave as one of “Beijing Biden’s political prisoners."

DeGrave’s defense attorney, William Shipley Jr., while not denying the severity and validity of the charges, argued that his client’s actions on Jan. 6 were “idiotic” and that “it was all for the purpose of creating content” for his social media accounts.

“The entry into the Capitol was another place to film themselves … this is really no more than three clowns recording their own crimes,” Shipley said, referring to Sandlin and Colt.

In addition to prison time, Friedrich imposed a $25,000 fine on DeGrave.

The Justice Department has charged more than 1,000 people to date in connection with the Capitol riot. As of last month, approximately 541 people have pleaded guilty and 445 have been sentenced.

Nearly 140 police officers — 73 of them Capitol Police officers and 65 of them Metropolitan Police — were assaulted during the Capitol riot. Five died as a result, one during the violence and four more from suicide in the subsequent months.

The FBI investigation is still ongoing, with 250 people who assaulted police officers still unidentified.

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Categories / Criminal, Politics

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