SAN DIEGO (CNS) — Federal prosecutors are seeking five months in prison for a former Coronado resident who pleaded guilty to participating in the breach of the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, according to sentencing papers filed Friday.
Jeffrey Alexander Smith, 34, is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday following his plea to one count of marching, protesting and picketing a Capitol building.
The prosecution’s sentencing memorandum says Smith and others moved iron benches that were placed in front of closed doors in the Capitol building. On the other side of the doors was a “mob of rioters” that Smith was trying to usher in, but three police officers intervened, the memorandum said.
Before officers could move the benches back, prosecutors said another crowd of people began pushing toward the doors, “sandwiching the three officers between the crowd and the doors.” Prosecutors say Smith joined the crowd and when the doors were finally opened, he “threw a victorious punch” and then led the rioters to the third level of the Capitol, which houses the galleries of the Senate and House chambers.
Prosecutors say the crowd that entered “included violent members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who were dressed in full combat gear as if going to war.”
According to Smith’s plea agreement, he admitted to entering the Capitol through doors that were already open, where he said he stayed for approximately 30 minutes.
The government sentencing memo says investigators were unable to determine Smith’s whereabouts during that half-hour, in part because Smith deleted videos and photographs he had taken while there. inside the Capitol, “because he thought they were incriminating.”
Now prosecutors say they found Smith joined others in antagonizing a group of police officers who stood guard “outside an access point to the Speaker’s office.”
At one point, prosecutors said, “Smith told officers to ‘stand down’ and warned them, ‘We’re getting into this one way or another.
A physical altercation soon ensued between the crowd and the officers, which injured at least one officer, although prosecutors say the video evidence is unclear whether Smith personally participated in the altercation.
Defense attorneys for Smith, who are seeking a sentence of three years probation and four months of community service, said his decision to enter the Capitol building was not planned in advance.
In their memorandum, his lawyers say that Smith traveled from the San Diego area to Washington D.C. to hear former President Donald Trump speak, then made a “misguided decision to enter the Capitol building” when ” he saw hundreds, if not thousands, of others are already inside and the doors of the Capitol building are opening.
The memo states that Smith “deeply regrets his actions” and that the custody time “is not necessary to prevent him from committing another crime.”
Smith was living with her parents in Coronado at the time, but has since left the state, according to court documents.
He was arrested a few weeks after the siege, with court documents indicating he had been identified via text messages he had sent and photos and videos uploaded to social media that depicted him among the crowd of rioters who stormed the Capitol.
In text messages to others, officials say Smith wrote ‘I am a patriot’, ‘I stormed the capital’ and said he was taking part in the insurgency to send a message that Americans were not going to “take a fraudulent election”. and “There’s no way I’m driving 38 hours from San Diego and not passing the (Capitol) building”.
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