Aug 11, 2022 - News

Ex-Seattle area man awaiting Jan. 6 sentence now linked to "civil war" comment

Photo of man wearing face mask inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, FBI agents were tipped to this image of Tyler Slaeker that was posted on his mother's Facebook page, according to a probable cause affidavit. Photo: via FBI

A former Seattle area man awaiting sentencing for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is linked to new remarks about a "civil war" posted in a pro-Donald Trump forum this week, NBC News reported.

The latest: Slaeker, 40, a former Federal Way resident who records show moved to Tennessee in November 2021, has been tied to an online account that posted comments Monday on TheDonald — a Reddit-like website that extremist groups used to plan the Capitol attack, NBC notes.

What happened: Per NBC, another user's post stating "lock and load," prompted an account with the username "bananaguard62" — a moniker linked to Slaeker's posts in the weeks before the Jan. 6 attack — to reply: "Are we not in a cold civil war at this point? “

  • It was among multiple comments on the site and others referencing or urging violence in response to news of the search of Trump's Palm Beach residence, NBC and other media reported.
  • Trump supporters later showed up en masse outside Mar-a-Lago.

Why it matters: Slaeker's posts demonstrate that at least one user on the extremist forum who was inspired to act on Jan. 6, 2021, has returned to the board's discussions fomenting violence this week.

  • Comments by Slaeker, who has admitted to illegally trespassing on Capitol grounds, potentially could come into play at his sentencing set for November, based on conditions in his plea agreement.

Background: Federal prosecutors last year charged Slaeker with two misdemeanor counts alleging he joined the Capitol riot after traveling from Washington state to D.C. to protest the 2020 presidential election, per court records.

  • Slaeker was captured on video and in still images inside the Capitol while donning a helmet and using his phone to record the events, records say.
  • Two relatives later tipped off FBI agents to photos of Slaeker in the Capitol that were posted to his mother's Facebook page, per a probable cause statement for his arrest.

State of play: Under a plea deal in May, Slaeker admitted to a single count of "entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds."

  • That offense carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and $100,000 fine, but prosecutors agreed to seek a lighter sentencing range: From 0 to 6 months imprisonment and a fine between $500 and $9,500.

Yes, but: The plea agreement also states that should Slaeker "commit any conduct after the execution of this Agreement," then "the Government is free … to seek an increase" to its sentencing calculations.

What they're saying: The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., declined to comment Wednesday.

Slaeker could not be reached Wednesday and his Nashville-based attorney did not immediately respond to Axios' phone or email messages.

  • Slaeker clarified in a reply to the post later Monday that he couldn't offer more specifics about his civil war remark, noting he was awaiting sentencing and "being careful with my words," per NBC.

Of note: Slaeker is among at least a dozen current or former Washington residents who have been charged for participating in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol.

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