Man Who Assaulted Officer on Jan. 6 Is Sentenced to Extra Than 12 Years


A federal decide on Wednesday sentenced a rioter who savagely assaulted an officer defending the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to greater than 12 years in jail, calling him a “one-man military of hate” whose extreme punishment would possibly act as a deterrent to future acts of political violence.

The 151-month sentence, handed down at a two-and-a-half-hour listening to in Federal District Courtroom in Washington, was one of many stiffest thus far within the Justice Division’s sprawling investigation of the Capitol assault. It stemmed from probably the most wrenching episodes of the day, an assault on a District of Columbia police officer with a Taser-like weapon that left him unconscious and unable to return to his duties.

The defendant, Daniel Rodriguez, 40, who had beforehand admitted to driving from California to Washington to do armed battle on behalf of former President Donald J. Trump, expressed some remorse for his actions as he requested the decide for leniency. However after receiving his sentence, Mr. Rodriguez smiled and set free a defiant shout of “Trump received!” earlier than being led out of the room by federal marshals.

The decide, Amy Berman Jackson, rejected protection arguments that Mr. Rodriguez was the product of a troublesome upbringing and that he had been a principally law-abiding retail and warehouse employee earlier than he turned radicalized by what she referred to as Mr. Trump’s “irresponsible and knowingly false claims that the election was stolen.”

Choose Jackson, her voice rising with disgust as she documented his actions intimately, mentioned she was sympathetic to Mr. Rodriguez’s declare that his prolonged absence has been dangerous to his ailing mom, however she forged the stiff sentence as serving the next function of safeguarding democracy from the persevering with threats.

“The shadow of tyranny has not gone away,” mentioned Choose Jackson, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

Patriotism, she advised Mr. Rodriguez, “is loyalty to your nation, to not a single head of state.”

Few among the many greater than 1,000 individuals who have been charged in reference to the Capitol assault had been as violent as Mr. Rodriguez, a single, fatherless man who, based on his lawyer, “idolized” Mr. Trump and his MAGA motion.

Over the course of practically two hours on the Capitol on Jan. 6, prosecutors say, Mr. Rodriguez sprayed a hearth extinguisher on the police, shoved at officers with a picket pole, took half in a “heave ho” effort to interrupt police traces and ultimately assaulted Officer Michael Fanone of the Metropolitan Police Division in Washington — who had rushed to the scene when he heard regulation enforcement requires assist — by hitting him twice within the neck with an electroshock machine in a crowd exterior the constructing.

Even then, prosecutors say, Mr. Rodriguez saved going. He entered the Capitol and sought to rile up different rioters, they mentioned, and tried to smash a window with a pole-like object he discovered inside. He additionally ransacked places of work, the federal government says, and instructed others within the mob to undergo drawers to “search for intel.”

When Mr. Rodriguez lastly left the Capitol grounds, prosecutors say, he despatched a textual content message to a bunch chat he had created referred to as Patriots 45 MAGA Gang, exhibiting a gallows with the Capitol within the background. The textual content of the message learn, “No Democrats discovered sadly.”

“These persons are zealots,” Mr. Fanone, who attended the listening to, mentioned afterward. “They have to be held accountable.”

In courtroom papers filed earlier than the sentencing, Mr. Rodriguez’s legal professionals wrote that their shopper was one among thousands and thousands duped by the previous president, who “doubled down on his lies and falsely declared that he had received.”

Mr. Rodriguez, who grew up and not using a father and by no means accomplished highschool, was a type of individuals. He “deeply revered and idolized Trump,” the legal professionals wrote, including, “He noticed the previous president as the daddy he wished he had.”

However Mr. Rodriguez did little to assist his personal trigger within the courtroom. He veered from that script throughout a rambling 25-minute assertion by which he appeared to forged the interval main as much as the assault on the Capitol in nostalgic phrases — a time when he bonded with fellow Trump supporters, practiced army drills by taking part in paintball and smoked marijuana, in his retelling.

“I did what I assumed was proper on the time,” he mentioned.

Choose Jackson, in passing sentence, was not swayed. She mentioned she was notably confounded by one factor Mr. Rodriguez had simply mentioned — that he had armed himself in anticipation of a battle with regulation enforcement, to take part in an illustration meant to safeguard the police below a “Blue Lives Matter” banner.

“Immediately was not the perfect day to say you needed to be armed and prepared as a result of police don’t all the time do the precise factor,” she mentioned, as one among his legal professionals slumped in her seat.

Prosecutors say that Mr. Rodriguez arrange Patriots 45 MAGA Gang on Telegram within the fall of 2020. However after the election — and Mr. Trump’s repeated lies concerning the end result being marred by fraud — the group chat turned “a breeding floor” for “plans for violence in opposition to the seat of the federal authorities.”

These plans crystallized, prosecutors mentioned, after Mr. Trump posted a message on Twitter on Dec. 19, 2020, summoning his supporters to Washington for a “wild” protest on Jan. 6.

After the Tweet was posted, Mr. Rodriguez urged others within the chat to lease an R.V. and drive to Washington as an alternative of flying in order that they might deliver weapons. He additionally inspired chat members, prosecutors mentioned, to arm themselves with knives, bear spray, even ax handles.

“There will likely be blood,” he wrote within the chat on the evening earlier than the Capitol assault. “Welcome to the revolution.”

Edward Badalian, Mr. Rodriguez’s co-defendant and fellow group chat member, was convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of an official continuing in April after a bench trial in entrance of Choose Jackson. Mr. Rodriguez pleaded responsible to related prices and assault in February.

Mr. Fanone, who has left the police drive and was conspicuous within the courtroom in his cowboy boots and neck tattoos, watched impassively because the prosecution performed video from his physique digicam exhibiting him shedding consciousness, being dragged to security and asking, faintly, if officers had repelled the attackers.

However he couldn’t sit nonetheless when Mr. Rodriguez started his lengthy assertion, and bolted from the courtroom across the time the defendant described his fellow attackers as “a bunch of misfits” who bonded over “smoking weed” collectively.

“We’re all so much dumber for simply having lived by that,” Mr. Fanone mentioned within the hall.


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