Some Jan. 6th rioters gain sympathy for cause in red states & More Trending News


PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Trennis Evans III joined the mob in the 2021 riot on the U.S. Capitol, climbing by way of a damaged window and tossing again a swig of whiskey in a congressional convention room.

On Wednesday, Evans was on the South Dakota Capitol, urging lawmakers to help a decision encouraging “the humane and fair treatment” of these, like himself, who confronted or are dealing with federal prison fees associated to the lethal siege on Jan. 6, 2021.

The decision failed by unanimous vote after he spoke earlier than the Legislature’s House State Affairs Committee. But Evans’ presence in the South Dakota Capitol underscored how sympathy for the Jan. 6 assault resounds among the many grassroots of the GOP’s right-wing.

While the Justice Department’s largest-ever investigation has expanded to cost almost 1,000 individuals like Evans for federal crimes associated to the siege, Evans and others who participated in the assault have discovered sympathetic audiences in locations like ruby-red South Dakota.

Republican lawmakers tip-toed across the riot and its aftermath earlier than voting in opposition to the decision throughout Wednesday’s listening to.

Still, for Evans, the listening to itself represented a victory.

“I applaud you, this committee, for taking the time to hear and understand in a body that’s formed like this for the first time,” he mentioned, including that the decision has been superior in 80 counties in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, however had by no means earlier than been thought of by a state Legislature.

State Rep. Phil Jensen, who co-sponsored the decision with two different lawmakers, mentioned he was hopeful Wednesday’s listening to would spur different state Legislatures to make related declarations. In South Dakota, each piece of laws is required to obtain a listening to.

“I hope it brings awareness to the plight of these political prisoners,” Jensen, who joined the membership of the Oath Keepers for a yr in 2014, advised The Associated Press. The far-right extremist group is accused of enjoying a key position in the Capitol riot.

Of the almost 400 individuals who have been sentenced to this point for riot-related fees, greater than 40 % have averted jail time totally. About 150 rioters have gotten six months behind bars or much less, in response to an AP tally.

Evans, who’s from Texas, pleaded responsible to a federal misdemeanor cost final yr for getting into the Capitol constructing and inspiring others to comply with by elevating a megaphone and saying, “Bring ’em in,” in response to prosecutors. Prosecutors sought a two-month jail time period, however a choose sentenced Evans to twenty days, with the flexibility to serve his time period in installments, fairly than unexpectedly.

Evans now operates a authorized advocacy group known as Condemned USA and beforehand developed a following on Gettr, a social media web site based by a former Trump adviser. Prosecutors mentioned he glorified political violence on social media, together with saying in February 2022 that he “love(d)” a submit threatening to “stack bodies” if members of the “deep state” didn’t “surrender.”

In court docket papers earlier than his sentencing, Evans’ lawyer known as him “quite self-reproving, sincerely remorseful, and duly contrite.” The legal professional mentioned Evans is “embarrassed of this criminal conduct and the shame he has brought upon himself and his family.”

If something, the punishment solely served to advance Evans’ standing amongst those that see the riot not as an assault on democracy, however a righteous battle to reverse what they take into account a stolen 2020 presidential election. Like Evans, some Jan. 6 defendants have profited from their participation in the lethal riot, utilizing it as a platform to drum up money, promote enterprise endeavors and kind teams dedicated to aiding fellow defendants.

There is not any proof of any widespread fraud or manipulation of voting machines in the 2020 election, underscored by repeated audits, court docket instances and the conclusions of President Donald Trump’s personal Department of Justice.

South Dakota’s capital metropolis of Pierre feels remoted amid the rolling buttes and farm nation of the Great Plains, however the political ramifications of Jan. 6 have steadily made their strategy to the state. Top Republican officers, together with Gov. Kristi Noem and Secretary of State Monae Johnson, have repeatedly expressed ambivalence about whether or not the 2020 presidential election was rightfully received by President Joe Biden.

Other Republicans, comparable to U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds and John Thune, have confronted backlash from the celebration’s proper wing after talking in opposition to former President Donald Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Rounds, who helped carry the electoral faculty votes out of the Senate chamber because it got here beneath assault from rioters on Jan. 6, was confronted by Jensen and different Republicans when he visited the Republican caucus in the Statehouse final week. The eagerness of Jensen and others to talk out on the Capitol assault threatens to drive a wedge in the state’s dominant Republican Party.

Some statehouse Republicans condemned Wednesday’s proposal as an alarming validation of an assault on the nation’s seat of presidency.

“I think if you attack the United States Capitol, you’re an enemy of America. That’s pretty obvious,” mentioned Republican state Sen. Lee Schoenbeck, the top-ranking lawmaker in his chamber.

Evans, in the meantime, mentioned he deliberate to stay across the South Dakota Capitol this week and proceed to press his case.

“This is how you push back,” Jensen mentioned. “The states created the federal government, the federal government didn’t create the states. It’s a matter of values. Right and wrong isn’t part of politics anymore.”


Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Associated Press journalists Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston and Michael Kunzelman in Washington contributed reporting.

Some Jan. 6th rioters gain sympathy for cause in red states

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Some Jan. 6th rioters gain sympathy for cause in red states

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Some Jan. 6th rioters gain sympathy for cause in red states

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