WASHINGTON (CN) — A retired Department of Defense employee who said that participating in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was the “worst lapse of judgment in his life” was sentenced Wednesday to 24 months of probation plus community service.
“In comparison to the conduct of many others that day, Mr. Gallagher’s conduct was substantially less severe,” U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols said, noting that Thomas Gallagher, a 61-year-old retiree from New Hampshire, didn’t plan his participation in the riot, nor did he express glee or pride about it afterward.
As recounted to authorities by his life-long friend John Azzo, Gallagher traveled to Washington to attend former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally after he had been “watching far too much Fox News” and “didn’t have anything else going on.”
While in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, Gallagher admonished another rioter not to throw a chair, and then was arrested by law enforcement when he and his six co-defendants refused to leave the building.
Gallagher had worked for the Department of Defense for 32 years as a quality-control analyst and had a top-secret security clearance. His defense attorney Sebastian Norton also noted that Gallagher is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for nearly 30 years and has a strong support system, some of whom wrote letters to the judge on Gallagher's behalf.
Nichols agreed that federal service was a credit to Gallagher but that “it cuts both ways, frankly,” — he should have known better and been more aware of the severity of his actions, the judge said.
Other factors that played into Nichols' sentencing decision included Gallagher’s early remorse, deep contrition and lack of criminal history.
“It was one of the most shameful acts he ever committed. It haunted him immediately after,” Norton said. “At the earliest outset he expressed extreme remorse for this heinous event.”
Gallagher had pleaded guilty to unlawful picketing, and the government had recommended a sentence of one month of home confinement.
Earlier on Wednesday, Jenny Louise Cudd pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of entering and remaining in a restricted building.
The 37-year-old Texas florist livestreamed to Facebook while in the U.S. Capitol, capturing moments in which she said, “we did break down Nancy Pelosi’s door,” and “hell yes, I am proud of my actions.” In an interview with NewsWest 9 two days later, Cudd said that she would “do it again.”
Cudd could face a maximum of one year in prison, but the recommended sentencing guidelines range from zero to six months. On Tuesday, Cudd’s co-defendant Eliel Rosa received a sentence of one year of probation.
Cudd has tried to separate herself from Rosa, filing a motion to have her case severed from his, and filing another motion to demand a change of venue — claiming that she cannot get a fair trial in Washington because the liberal jury will believe that Cudd has “white privilege.”
Her motions were denied.
In February, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden agreed to let her travel to Mexico for a work retreat.
Cudd is the 100th Jan. 6 defendant to enter a guilty plea.