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May 19, 2022
Jan. 6 Defendant Becomes First Known Rioter To Speak With Committee Investigators

Jan. 6 Defendant Becomes First Known Rioter To Speak With Committee Investigators

A New York man who pleaded guilty to 10 charges related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol has testified before the congressional committee investigating the riot, according to court filings, making him the first known defendant to have cooperated and spoken with the panel.

Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 06, 2021 in … [+] Washington, DC. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

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Key Facts

Greg Rubenacker, 26, spent “several hours” testifying before committee investigators, according to a sentencing memo from his lawyers that was first reported by Politico, though it did not specify when he met with the committee.

Rubenacker’s lawyers said this is one of several ways he has shown remorse and taken responsibility for his actions on January 6, and suggested he should face one year of home confinement.

Prosecutors said in their sentencing memo Rubenacker should face a harsher punishment, as he was part of a group that chased Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman up a staircase near the entrance to the Senate Chamber.

Rubenacker also swung a water bottle at a police officer’s helmet and smoked marijuana inside the Capitol, according to prosecutors, who are seeking a 46-month prison sentence for Rubenacker.

Rubenacker pleaded guilty in February to 10 charges, including felony counts of civil disorder, obstruction of Congress and assault.

Crucial Quote
Prosecutors said in the memo Goodman’s decision to lead the group of rioters away from the Senate chamber prevented the rioters from reaching senators before they were able to be evacuated. “Indeed, if the officer had not deliberately led the group of rioters away from the Senate chamber—to which there was an unimpeded path—Rubenacker and the rioters with him might have come face to face with U.S. Senators,” prosecutors wrote.

Big Number
823. That’s how many people have been charged for actions related to the storming of the U.S. Capitol last year, according to Insider. Sentences for those who have pleaded or have been found guilty have ranged from one month in prison to five years.

Key Background
Rubenacker is one of hundreds of protesters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to impede the certification of electoral college votes for then President-elect Joe Biden. The January 6 Committee, a select congressional panel, is leading a probe of the events leading up to and following the attack. The panel has subpoenaed dozens as part of their investigation, and has heard testimony from top Trump officials in recent weeks, including his son, Donald Trump Jr., and daughter, Ivanka Trump.

What To Watch For
Rubenacker’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 13. He faces up to 28 years in prison for the charges, though prosecutors are seeking a nearly four-year sentence.

Further Reading
Man With Molotov Cocktails On Jan. 6 Gets Nearly 4 Year Prison Sentence. Here’s How That Compares With Others. (Forbes)

Rioter Gets Longest Jan. 6 Sentence Yet—5 Years For Attacking Police (Forbes)

Read More

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