A New Jersey gym owner and a man from Washington state on Friday became the first defendants to plead guilty to assaulting law enforcement officers during the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol.
The plea deals with federal prosecutors could be a benchmark for dozens of other similar cases stemming from the violent uprising. The two defendants each face more than three years behind bars.
Scott Kevin Fairlamb, a 44-year-old former mixed martial arts fighter from Stockholm, NJ, pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting a Metropolitan Police Department officer. He faces 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 years in prison under recommended sentencing guidelines under his plea deal.
Devlyn Thompson, 28, of Puyallup, Washington, faces a slightly longer recommended sentence of about four years to 4 3/4 years after he copped to assaulting a police officer with a dangerous weapon, a baton.
The plea deals come nearly two weeks after law enforcement officers told Congress about their traumatic ordeals at the Capitol — detailing vicious attacks, threats and racism from the mob, which was trying to stop Congress from certifying President Biden’s electoral victory over former President Donald Trump.
Approximately 140 police officers were attacked by rioters that day, according to the Justice Department. Five cops who were protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6 have died. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered two fatal strokes after rioters sprayed him with a chemical irritant, and four others have since taken their own lives.
Police shot and killed one rioter, and three others succumbed to medical conditions during the mayhem.
Fairlamb — whose brother is a Secret Service agent who protected Michelle Obama — was one of the first people to breach the Capitol after other rioters smashed windows, prosecutors said. After he left the building, he harassed and impeded a group of officers who were trying to corral the mob, and was caught on camera shoving and punching a police officer in the head.
“What (do) patriots do? We f—ing disarm them and then we storm the f—ing Capitol!,” the former gym owner, who endorsed baseless QAnon conspiracy theories online, was seen chanting on a video clip.
“As a former MMA fighter, the defendant was well aware of the injury he could have inflicted on (the officer),” prosecutors wrote. “His actions and words on that day all indicate a specific intent to obstruct a congressional proceeding through fear, intimidation, and violence, including violence against uniformed police officers.”
Thompson was on the front lines of the most violent attacks on law enforcement that day in a Capitol tunnel, prosecutors said.
“This is one of the largest domestic terrorism events in US history, where a group of individuals attacked the citadel of our constitutional democracy in an effort to overthrow the valid election results of the president of the United States,” Assistant US Attorney Tejpal Chawla said.
Lawyers for the defendants said they plan to ask for leniency during sentencing.
Fairlamb and Thompson are at least the 32nd and 33rd defendants to plead guilty.
More than 560 people have been charged with federal crimes in connection with the deadly uprising and hundreds more are still at large.
With Post wires