Perhaps one of the most prominent defendants charged so far in the Justice Department’s sprawling Capitol riot investigation, Evans faced more serious charges than most of the other defendants because “He was a leader in that riot. He was a leader on the field, he was a leader”. on social media, and he was a leader in his state,” District Attorney Kathryn Fifield said in DC District Court on Wednesday.
Evans resigned from the West Virginia House of Delegates three days after the riot and one day after his initial arrest. He had just taken office the previous month. He pleaded guilty to a felony civil disorder charge in March.
“Mr. Evans was in a position of public trust at the time of the riot,” Fifield told the court, saying his presence and promotion of campaign conspiracies “gave credibility” to the riot.
Evans “played a role in escalating things on the East Side before it was breached” by relaying what was happening on the West Side Terrace, where things had already turned violent, to the crowd gathered on the East Side, which was still relatively calm at the time. Prosecutors told the court that this “in part” made the East Side mob violent.
Evans streamed on Facebook Live during much of the riot and prosecutors played several parts of the live stream during his sentencing hearing, where he can be heard shouting: ‘We’re taking this country back , whether you like it or not” and “We’ve told you I’m taking this house. Patriots rise.
He also told his live audience that “You might want to have the bail money read for some of the people who are going to do that.”
Evans deleted the live stream hours after the attack, but it was recovered by a Reddit user and later by law enforcement.
On Wednesday, Evans said he “accepts[ed] full responsibility for my actions” and described his participation in the riot as a “momentary error in my judgment. He told the court that “I am not a violent or destructive person. I’m a good person who unfortunately got caught up in the moment.”
“My first reaction was to give you six months,” DC District Judge Royce Lamberth said before handing down his sentence, but said, “I’m not trying to be tougher than the government. ” Lamberth then told Evans, “I have to send a message. I don’t want another riot in the next election…so I’m going to do what I can as a judge.”
Lamberth also sentenced Evans to three years of probation and $2,000 in restitution, following the government’s recommendation.