World News

January 6 trial: a QAnon follower sentenced


WASHINGTON-

An Iowa man was found guilty on Friday of leading a mob of rioters to chase a US Capitol police officer down a flight of stairs and accosted other officers guarding the Senate, one of the most heartbreaking from the mob attack that day.

A federal jury deliberated for about four hours before convicting Douglas Jensen of felony with preventing Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021 and assaulting or interfering with police officers during the siege.

Jensen was found guilty on all counts, including a charge of engaging in disorderly conduct inside the Capitol while carrying a folding knife in his pocket.

During the trial’s closing arguments, a prosecutor accused Jensen of “arming” the rioters by taking the initiative to chase Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman down a flight of stairs. A reporter’s video of the confrontation has gone viral.

“The defendant wasn’t just directing the crowd. He was weaponizing it,” Assistant US Attorney Hava Mirell told jurors. “He knew he had the numbers, and he was ready to use them.”

Jensen, a construction worker from Des Moines, Iowa, wore a T-shirt with a large “Q” expressing his support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. One of the most memorable images of the Jan. 6 attack captured Jensen with his arms outstretched as he confronted a line of police near the Senate chambers.

“Go arrest the vice president,” Jensen told one of the officers, according to prosecutors.

QAnon focused on the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump was secretly battling a Satan-worshipping cabal made up of “Deep State” haters, prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites. Jensen believed in the doomsday conspiracy theory prophecy that “The Storm” was coming and would usher in mass arrests and executions of Trump’s enemies, including Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence was presiding over the Senate on January 6 as a joint session of Congress was called to certify US President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Prior to the riot, Trump and his allies spread the lie that Pence could have one way or another nullify the election results.

After scaling the exterior walls of the Capitol, Jensen climbed through a broken window to enter the building. Prosecutors said Jensen learned via text message from a friend that Pence was about to certify the election results.

“Everything is about to change,” Jensen replied.

Jensen did not testify at his trial, which began on Tuesday. Goodman was a key witness for prosecutors.

Before running upstairs, Goodman approached Jensen and other rioters with his hand on his gun. Fearing for his life, Goodman retreated upstairs and found backup from other officers guarding an entrance to the Senate, where senators were being evacuated, prosecutors said.

At least 880 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riots. About 400 of them have pleaded guilty. Juries convicted eight Capitol Riot defendants after the trials. None of the defendants who were tried by jury were acquitted of any charges.

Sentences for the rioters range from probation for minor offenses to 10 years in prison for a man who used a metal pole to assault an officer.

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