An ex-lawmaker from West Virginia, who was at the Capitol building during the Jan. 6 breach, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge on March 18.
Derrick Evans, 36, from Prichard, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder before U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia. He has been accused of trying to commit “an act to obstruct, impede, or interfere with a law enforcement officer from the United States Capitol Police, lawfully engaged in the performance of his or her official duties” during a civil disorder.
According to court documents, Evans made his way to the East Side of the Capitol on Jan. 6 where he observed the crowd build up. Around 1:45 p.m., Evans saw and captured on video rioters breaching the barriers blocking the East Plaza, overwhelming law enforcement officials.
Following the crowd, he headed toward the Capitol building. In a livestreamed video on his Facebook account that was later deleted, Evans was seen around 20 feet away from the Rotunda Doors before they were breached.
“He narrated what he saw and heard, making remarks such as ‘Here we go! Here we go! Open the doors’, and ‘The door’s cracked We’re goin’ in!’ Once he made it through the doors, Evans exclaimed, ‘We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!’” according to a March 18 press release by the U.S. Department of Justice. Evans entered the building around 2:40 p.m. and left roughly 10 minutes later.
The ex-lawmaker was arrested two days after the incident. He is facing a potential prison term of up to five years and could be fined up to $250,000. Evans is due to be sentenced on June 22. The case is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Prosecutors indicated that there was a loose agreement based on which Evans would cooperate with the police. “It is accurate as part of the plea agreement that he agreed to sit down with law enforcement if requested, but there’s no formal cooperation agreement with Mr. Evans and the government,” the prosecutors said, according to WV Metro News.
Due to the guilty plea, multiple other charges against Evans will be dropped, one of them being felony obstruction to an official proceeding that could have resulted in a 20-year prison term.
Evans has previously faced four misdemeanors related to the Jan. 6 incident. At the time of the Capitol breach, Evans was a newly-elected West Virginia delegate, a post from which he subsequently resigned.
Since the Jan. 6 incident, over 775 individuals have been arrested across the United States for crimes related to breaching the Capitol building. More than 245 people have been charged with impeding or assaulting law enforcement.