Jan 9, 2024 - News

Colorado played significant role in Jan. 6 attack, new data shows

Data: U.S. Department of Justice and Axios research; Chart: John Frank/Axios
Data: U.S. Department of Justice and Axios research; Chart: John Frank/Axios

Colorado's prominent role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the effort to keep former President Trump in office goes deeper than previously known.

Driving the news: At least 23 people with Colorado ties now have been arrested and charged with roughly 100 federal crimes related to their roles in the 2021 attack, according to federal data and media reports analyzed by Axios Denver.

  • Eight of them have been sentenced to prison or jail time after being found guilty, while six others have received lesser punishments, such as supervised probation, house arrest or community service.
  • Four were found guilty and are awaiting sentencing, while five cases are still being prosecuted.

Why it matters: The analysis is the most complete picture to date of the Trump loyalists from Colorado who participated in the storming of the nation's capital on the day Congress certified the 2020 presidential results.

The intrigue: The 23 people with Colorado ties who were charged puts the state among the top for those indicted. Most of them are residents, while two were arrested here and another traveled from Colorado to the Capitol. Among those with prominent roles:

  • Robert Gieswein of Woodland Park received a four-year prison sentence for pushing into the Capitol with a group of Proud Boys and assaulting officers at multiple points.
  • Jacob Clark of Trinidad received 33 months in prison after text messages showed he came to participate in "riots" and carried a 2x4 plank of wood as a weapon.

Between the lines: The evidence also helps buttress a Colorado district court's landmark finding that the former president engaged in an insurrection and is no longer eligible to appear on the 2024 ballot — a case the U.S. Supreme Court recently decided to review.

Context: In addition to the attack, an attorney for the Colorado Republican Party and another tied to a local conservative outfit were indicted by a grand jury along with Trump for their alleged work to overturn election results in Georgia.

  • Jenna Ellis, the former conservative fellow at the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, pleaded guilty in October and received five years' probation.
  • The case against Trump attorney John Eastman, who also represented the state GOP, is still ongoing.

The big picture: Three years after the attack, more than 1,265 defendants have been charged, the U.S. Justice Department reports.

  • Of the roughly 749 sentenced, about two-thirds have received prison or jail sentences.

What to watch: Federal prosecutors made clear their work will continue. Two Colorado residents, Justin Shulze, 31 and Eric Zeis, 37, were just identified and arrested in November.

  • Todd Casey, a 53-year-old from Denver, was arrested in August and faces charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer in what prosecutors called a riot in one of the Capitol tunnels.
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