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WASHINGTON — A Utah man avoided time behind bars after he pleaded guilty to a charge connected to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol last year.
Jacob Wiedrich was sentenced Wednesday morning to three months of home confinement and three years of probation in connection to the attack on the Capitol. He pleaded guilty in October to one misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. He was the first Utahn to plead guilty and the first to be sentenced.
Charging documents say Wiedrich could be heard yelling "we ride for Trump, we die for Trump" while walking in a crowd. FBI agents also allegedly found a Snapchat video of Wiedrich in which he allegedly said, "We marched to the Capitol, broke a few windows."
Prior to his sentencing, prosecutors revealed last week in a sentencing memorandum that Wiedrich had reportedly stolen a U.S. flag from the Capitol and had brought it back with him to Salt Lake City. The court filing indicated that FBI agents recovered the flag from Wiedrich's home after serving a search warrant and placing him under arrest. The January court filing was the first time authorities accused Wiedrich of theft in his case.
During the Wednesday hearing, which took place remotely, Judge Thomas Hogan said the statements made by Wiedrich during the attack and social media posts afterward concerned him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacob Strain asked the court for a prison term, citing the theft and Wiedrich's statements as justifications for incarceration. Strain also said that Wiedrich walked across the entire building during the riot before leaving the building with the flag.
Wiedrich's attorney, Maria Jacob, told the court Wednesday that the Snapchat video and other social media posts were made to try and impress his friends, though some statements made in posts were untrue. Jacob said that Wiedrich claimed in videos that he was hit with rubber bullets and pepper spray, though that did not happen.
Since his arrest, Wiedrich has been remorseful for his actions, Jacob said. She added that Wiedrich has since made steps to better his life, like enrolling in a trade school and starting to live on his own. She said that Wiedrich wrote a letter to U.S. Capitol Police officers apologizing for his actions, and he previously suggested to the court that he complete 100 hours of community service as part of his sentence.
"There is obviously remorse here," Jacob said. "He sincerely regrets his actions."
In a brief statement to the court, Wiedrich, who refers to himself as "Gods Battle Ax and Weapon of War" on Twitter, said he had enrolled in a trade school and knows his past actions will be a stain on his future. He also said that, regardless of politics, "breaking American property is not acceptable." Wiedrich said he is still passionate about politics, but rather than focus on national politics, Wiedrich said he wants to do it the "right way" and focus on local issues.
Hogan ultimately ruled against sending Wiedrich to prison, saying that he would be incarcerated, the extent of Wiedrich's would only mean a few months behind bars and no additional oversight from the court.
Instead, Hogan sentenced Wiedrich to three months of home detention, which would allow for Wiedrich to continue with trade school. Once that is complete, Wiedrich will be on supervised probation for three years, which Hogan noted would extend past the 2024 presidential election to ensure Wiedrich doesn't fall into the same patterns that led him to the Capitol. Hogan also ordered that Wiedrich serve 100 hours of community service.
A total of eight Utah residents have been charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol. Over 700 people across the country have been charged in connection with the riot, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.