Despite what former President Donald Trump asserts in spreading misinformation about the incident, many of the Jan. 6 rioters recognize they were wrong to enter the US Capitol and renounce political violence.
Some accuse Trump of deceiving them and caution Trump supporters not to put their faith in him. Others are stubborn, claiming that they are victims of “cancel culture.”
At least 170 rioters have admitted their culpability, with more than 70 receiving sentences. After the defendants died, one case was dropped and two others were closed. There hasn’t been a single acquittal.
Here’s a sample of what they and their attorneys stated in court:
“How did I end up at the Capitol?” I’m afraid I don’t know what to say. I’ve gone over it a thousand times and I’m still baffled as to why I didn’t see what was going on and take appropriate action. There were a few things that day that had an impact on me that I couldn’t ignore. ‘Everyone is going to the Capitol,’ we were informed, and ‘be gentle.'”
“The whole thing seemed bizarre.” I put my faith in the President, which was a huge mistake.”
—In a letter to the judge sentencing him, Leonard Gruppo of Clovis, New Mexico. Gruppo, a former member of the Special Forces, was sentenced to three months of home arrest.
“I’ve recognized that people who had considerable authority at the time, namely the then-sitting President and those acting on his behalf, lied to us, the Trump supporters.”
“They kept spouting out the bogus narrative of a rigged election and how standing up to tyranny was ‘our responsibility.'” I had no idea they were the tyrants, anxious to keep power at any cost, even if it meant causing the havoc they knew would result from such speech.”
—In a handwritten letter, Robert Palmer of Largo, Florida. Palmer assaulted police officers with a fire extinguisher. He received a sentence of more than five years in jail.
“False assertions were made in the media and by the President himself that the electoral system had been tainted and that the election’s integrity should be called into question….” Mr. Croy was certain that the election had been rigged, based on what he read on the internet and heard from the President himself.”
—Attorney Kira Anne West, in a court petition on behalf of Glenn Wes Lee Croy, of Colorado Springs, who was sentenced to three months of home detention.
“I’ve attended a number of President Trump’s events without issue. That day, my goal was to help, not to cause any sort of issue. I am very grieved by the events on that day, and I am deeply sorry that I will be permanently linked with them.”
—In a handwritten letter, Dona Sue Bissey of Bloomfield, Indiana. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison.
“The only plan I had was to attend President Trump’s address at the White House Ellipse.” During his address, he mentioned that he would be heading to the capitol thereafter, and he invited us to go there with him. Because I was chilly, I left his lecture early to go back to my hotel room. When I returned to my room, I saw on the television that thousands had gathered at the capital building. I decided to put on an extra layer of clothes and walk to the capitol after traveling such a great distance to attend this protest.”
—In a letter to the court, Valerie Elaine Ehrke of Arbuckle, California wrote: Ehrke was handed a three-year probationary period. That day, Trump did not visit the Capitol.
“In our nation, the public has a long history of punishing people who are believed to have done wrong in ‘their’ eyes. Mr. Hodgkins will be ‘cancelled’ by a big portion of our society due to 15 minutes of poor judgment, hurling stones in his direction while never fully comprehending their own sins and hypocrisy.”
—attorney Patrick Leduc, in a court filing on behalf of Paul Allard Hodgkins of Tampa, Florida, who broke into the Senate with a Trump campaign flag. Hodgkins received an eight-month sentence.
“While I regret entering the Capitol illegally on January 6th, not everything I did that day was terrible. Some of the acts I did that day were beneficial. I came to DC to express my dissatisfaction with the election results. I wished for my opinion to be heard. My cell phone and my voice were my only weapons.
“I believe that America is currently engaged in a ‘Information War.'” This so-called ‘war,’ which I said using my first amendment rights, is waged with words, ideas, structures, and views rather than guns.”
—In a letter to the court, Jenna Ryan of Frisco, Texas. After stating online that “I have blonde hair white skin a fantastic career a bright future and I’m not going to jail,” Ryan was sentenced to 60 days in prison. In an interview broadcast this week by NBC News, she said she was being scapegoated “like the Jews in Germany.”
“My conservative beliefs haven’t changed. However, the system of government, which is based on a constitutional republic, and the procedures in place for determining who sits behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office transcend any one candidate or political party. That peaceful transition of power, as well as the mechanism used to achieve it, need to be safeguarded. My advice to fellow conservatives, or any American who disagrees with the present government, is that we must work inside the system while condemning the events of January 6th as heinous.”
—In a handwritten letter, Devlyn Thompson of Seattle. Thompson was sentenced to nearly four years in jail after pleading guilty to attacking a police officer with a baton.