3 men fought and lit up with police during January. 6 Sentenced for rioting


Three people prepared for violence before January 1st. The Feb. 6, 2021 riots, clashes with or with police protecting the U.S. Capitol, and then celebrating by smoking inside the building were sentenced Friday to years in prison and forfeited of the funds they raised from the prosecution.

Ronald Sandlin, 35, a tech entrepreneur from Las Vegas who carried a gun to Washington to attack police officers, received the longest sentence of the three at 63 months. He is also the only one of those convicted in two separate cases to express remorse for his actions. He said through tears that he would “stop beating my chest after January 6” and would “bear my abhorrent behavior for the rest of my life”.

He and two friends brought guns from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C., and repeatedly declared that they would occupy the Capitol by force. Sanderling, armed with a knife, pushed his way to the front of the crowd, entered the crowd and clashed with officials guarding the building’s entrance and the Senate floor. Sanderling tried to remove a helmet from one officer and shoved another; he stole a book from a senator’s desk; he tried to make a painting, and he smoked marijuana in the rotunda. If they fought, he told the officers to run or die.

“I felt like someone’s punching bag, constantly being hit by the mob and pinned against a wall,” one of the officers said in a statement to the court. “That day of my life is still the worst day I’ve ever been through and it still scars me to this day.”

In explaining her sentence, Judge Dabney L. Friedrich said Sanderling “put the lives of multiple officers at risk” and then “celebrated.”

Afterwards, Sanderling tried to erase the evidence; prosecutors said they were able to see video of his riot because Sanderling had shared his laptop encryption keys in recorded prison calls.

Sanderling apologized to officials, lawmakers and election officials, saying they “should never feel threatened by political violence.” He said he knew President Biden won the 2020 election and no longer supported Donald Trump.

Friedrich, a Trump appointee, said she wasn’t sure Sanderling should be trusted because he claimed more than a year after his arrest to be the victim of an ongoing “witch hunt” by a biased Justice Department .

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Last fall, Sanderling falsely told documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi — the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — that police murdered two Trumps who died in the riots supporter. As recently as October, a conservative blogger put out a call to raise money for Sanderling, saying he “needs your help fighting a tyrannical and corrupt Justice Department.” Sanderling has a court-appointed, taxpayer-funded attorney, Jerry Smith.

“Even though he changed his mind, it’s really hard to know where his head is now,” Friedrich said. The judge said she would order Sanderling to hand over the rest of the $21,000 he raised online.

The Post obtained hours of video footage, some of it exclusive, and placed it within a digital 3D model of the building. (Video: The Washington Post)

There are people who “believe in these fanatical, crazy conspiracy theories about elections being stolen” that have been “reinforced by politicians, including the President of the United States,” and it will take “a while to get de-processed,” Smith said. According to Smith, Sanderling’s conversion came during preparations for the trial when they watched video from inside the Capitol. Sanderling chose to plead guilty to assaulting the police; he looked distressed when video was played in court Friday.

“He’s not trying to position himself as a future darling of the alt-right,” Smith said.

On Friday, two other men pleaded guilty to obstructing Congress, pleading guilty to throwing smoke bombs at police, smoking inside the building and stealing a sign they used to scrawled the brand “Murder Media” on the Capitol door.

Nicholas Oakes, 36, of Honolulu, and Nicholas DeCarlo, 32, of Fort Worth, both belong to the far-right Proud Boys movement. Neither expressed remorse; prosecutors noted that De Caro commemorated their vandalism in a framed photo in his apartment.

Oakes, a veteran, and DeCarlo, a high school dropout, said they went to the Capitol to promote their new media ventures and were swept away by the crowd.

“Professional journalists don’t drop smoke bombs to help mobs break into secure government buildings,” said Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court. “They know what they’re doing, they won’t be gullible and they won’t be manipulated.”

She sentenced them both to four years in prison. Like Friedrich, Howell ordered the defendants to withhold $7.50 in fines from the thousands of dollars they raised online that they claimed were political prisoners.

Prosecutors said less than 10 percent of the $15,677 Oakes raised was earmarked for his attorney’s fees, while DeCaro raised $7,000 on behalf of court-appointed attorneys.

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