Capitol Rioter Shocks Judge With ‘Ridiculous’ Sentencing Statements
Capitol rioter Tristan Stevens made some “pretty shocking statements” in court Friday as he faced sentencing for his involvement in the attack of January 6, 2021.
Stevens, 27, was found guilty on nine counts—including five felonies—in September 2022 for “assaulting or aiding and abetting in assaulting law enforcement” during the siege waged in Washington, D.C., by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. The native of Pensacola, Florida, appeared before U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump-appointed judge, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
According to the Department of Justice, Stevens was part of a mob that attempted to enter the Capitol through the Lower West Terrace on January 6, clashing with law enforcement. The Florida man was convicted of assaulting former U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell with a stolen riot shield in the conflict, reported WUSA, as well as assisting in the assault of several other officers.
Prior to receiving his sentencing order, Stevens spat out a slew of conspiracy theories before the court, including that January 6 was an “entrapment operation” by the federal government to cover up the fraudulent 2020 presidential election.
McFadden, however, said that Stevens’ claims were “pretty shocking statements,” adding that “it’s ridiculous to suggest there was some kind of entrapment that caused you to do what you did.”
“You battled those officers,” the judge continued, according to WUSA’s report. “You chose to do what you did.”
Stevens also claimed during his sentencing that Dr. Anthony Fauci had launched a “bioweapon” to impact the presidential election, and said he went to the Capitol “because of the Biden laptop,” reported CBS News correspondent Scott MacFarlane.
According to court documents, Stevens had previously pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Gonell, who has medically retired from the police force due to injuries sustained on January 6, also gave a victim impact statement during the trial, reported WUSA, saying that Stevens’ actions “forced” him into retirement.
Stevens did issue a brief apology for Gonell during his rant Friday, saying that he “didn’t mean to make Gonell feel frustrated and ineffective.” As WUSA noted, however, Stevens failed to pronounce Gonell’s name correctly.
McFadden said Stevens’ speech lacked remorse and told the defendant that his actions during the January 6 riots were “among the most embarrassing,” reported ABC‘s MacFarlane.
“Any American of good conscience should be outraged by your treatment of these officers,” McFadden added.
McFadden also presided over the sentencing of David Mehaffie, 63, of Kettering, Ohio, last month for charges related to the attack on the Capitol. Prosecutors said Mehaffie had traveled with Stevens to Washington, D.C., alongside 25-year-old Patrick McCaughey of Ridgefield, Connecticut.
Mehaffie was sentenced to 14 months in prison. McCaughey is scheduled to be sentenced next month, reported WUSA.
More than 1,000 people have been arrested in relation to the January 6 attack. As of Friday, the Department of Justice reported that more than 320 had been charged with “assaulting or impeding law enforcement.”Newsweek has emailed Stevens’ defense attorney, Lauren Cobb, for comment.