Aug 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First person pleads guilty to assaulting officer during Capitol riot

FBI and ATF law enforcement push out supporters of US President Donald Trump as they protested inside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021,
FBI and ATF law enforcement push out supporters of President Trump as they protested inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A New Jersey man on Friday became the first person to plead guilty to assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Friday's ruling could guide the sentencing of dozens of other cases in which rioters assaulted police officers on Jan. 6, AP writes.

Driving the news: Scott Fairlamb's attorneys said prosecutors will recommend a prison sentence of about 3.5 to 4.5 years, but the judge isn’t restricted by that term of the plea agreement, per AP.

  • Fairlamb, a 44-year-old gym owner, pleaded guilty to two counts: obstruction of an official proceeding and assaulting a Metropolitan Police Department officer, which carry a maximum sentence of more than 20 years.
  • Fairlamb was indicted on 12 counts, including civil disorder, assaulting a law enforcement officer, and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, per AP.
  • Fairlamb was one of the first rioters to breach the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, per federal prosecutors. After he left the Capitol, he yelled in police officers' faces and blocked their ability to move through the mob.
  • A video showed Fairlamb holding a collapsible baton and shouting, "What [do] patriots do? We f------ disarm them and then we storm the f------ Capitol!"

The big picture: Fairlamb's hearing comes less than two weeks after four police officers delivered emotional accounts of that day before the House's Jan. 6 committee hearings.

What to watch via the New York Times: "If the government’s suggestion in Mr. Fairlamb’s case is accepted by the presiding judge, Royce C. Lamberth, it would mark the most significant sentence prosecutors have won to date."

Go deeper: Officers relive Jan. 6 terror

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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