BOSTON (AP) — The son of a prominent U.S. painter was convicted on Friday of four counts of participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.
Vincent Gillespie, 61, of Athol, Massachusetts, was convicted of assaulting, resisting or obstructing officers; civil disorder; engaging in physical violence in a building or restricted area; and an act of physical violence on Capitol grounds or buildings, prosecutors said.
Judgment is scheduled for March 17.
Investigators said Gillespie pushed, shouted and fought with police, maneuvering towards a line of officers defending the outer gate of the Lower West Terrace. At one point, Gillespie took control of a police shield and used it to ram into officers, they said.
He grabbed a Metropolitan Police Department sergeant by the arm, pulled him towards the crowd and shouted “traitor” and “treason”, according to the US Department of Justice.
An attorney representing Gillespie did not immediately return a request for comment.
A video interview Gillespie conducted with The Associated Press at the time of the riot was used as evidence by prosecutors during the trial, along with Capitol security video and police body cameras.
Although he was quick to give his name when the AP reporter asked him to interview him, Gillespie hesitated before saying where he was from. “They’re coming after me, man,” he said hesitantly before adding, “I’m in Massachusetts.”
Vincent Gillespie is the son of the famous American post-war artist Gregory Gillespie, whose self-portraits, fantastic landscapes and geometric abstractions are part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and other museums. Grégory Gillespie died in 2000.
AP video captured a blushing Vincent Gillespie strolling outside the Capitol, speaking defiantly about his role in the attack — and his lament that more like-minded individuals didn’t join the fight.
“We were almost getting them under control,” Gillespie, blood visible on his scalp during the clash, told an AP reporter. “If you had 15 or 20 other guys behind us pushing, I think we could have won.”
The trial began on Monday, with jurors beginning deliberations on Thursday and ending on Friday. At the trial. Gillespie testified in his defense.
“He testified that he found the events of January 6 amusing and enjoyable,” said jury forewoman Niki Christoff, 44, of Washington, D.C. “In testifying for his own defense, I think he tried to cover their tracks and that only added to the jury’s deliberation time.
Christoff cited what she described as damning photographic and video evidence against Gillespie.
Gillespie was spotted by AP outside the Capitol pouring water in his eyes, apparently to combat the effects of chemical sprays.
He said he was among those trying to storm the building through an opening.
“I was with other guys. And then we started pushing them around and they were beating us up and putting pepper spray in your eyes. But there was a bunch of people pushing behind us,” Gillespie told the PA.
“What you need to know, and nobody’s going to listen to this, we were very (expletive) close.” If more people had been behind him, he said, “then there’s this second set of doors that we would have just blown up.”
He added on the video that he hoped those attacking the building would “swarm in so there’s nothing they can do.
“That’s what I hope they will do. Take over. Take over. Own it for a few days. I’m not an anarchist, but you can’t let what happened in this election go,’ he said in an apparent reference to former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen.
Investigators said they learned of Gillespie’s identity from a former neighbor and others, including employees of the town of Athol, where Gillespie attends meetings and pays his tax bills at the town hall. In total, authorities said, six witnesses independently identified him from footage taken during the riot.
Gillespie is one of nearly 900 people arrested in nearly 50 states in connection with the Capitol assault in which the pro-Trump mob sought to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, reports officials said.