WASHINGTON — A federal jury on Friday convicted a QAnon believer who chased down U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman on Jan. 6, 2021, finding the defendant guilty on all charges against him.
Doug Jensen, an Iowa man who was one of the first 10 rioters to enter the Capitol during the insurrection, went on trial this week and was found guilty on seven counts, including felony charges of civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 16. Jensen’s wife, April, cried as the verdicts were read.
Jensen has been in pretrial custody since last year. He had been released in a high-intensity pretrial program, but a judge ordered him detained again after he violated the conditions of his release by live-streaming an event hosted MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who has promoted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
On Jan. 6, Jensen filmed videos from the base of the Capitol building, where he proclaimed — inaccurately, but with tremendous confidence — that he was at the White House. “Storm the White House! That’s what we do!” he said in one video.
The government and Jensen’s defense team made their closing arguments Friday, before the jury of 10 men and two women began deliberating in the afternoon.
Prosecutors argued that Jensen “was the rioter who would not back down” in his determination to the prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
“Every barrier he encountered that day, he was ready to topple,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Arin Levenson Mirell said. He scaled a 20-foot wall to reach the Capitol, inhaled clouds of pepper spray “like it was oxygen,” and passed through police lines.
Goodman, the USCP officer who testified at Jensen’s trial, had “no back-up” when he faced off with rioters, Mirell said. And the mob, “led by the defendant,” didn’t withdraw despite being asked to by authorities.
“That was not a game of follow the leader,” Mirell said. Jensen was “weaponizing that mob.”
In his closing statement, Jensen’s attorney, Christopher Davis, painted his client as a “confused man” and “lone wolf” who had fallen for QAnon conspiracy theories. The pandemic “did very strange things to people” and “apparently, Mr. Jensen was one of them,” he said.
Davis said it took his client roughly 24 hours to figure out that he was at the Capitol, not the White House, adding, that “shows you how confused and how jumbled his head is.”
He argued that his client did not lay a hand on anyone and denied that Jensen took part in some of the chaotic scenes on scaffolding as prosecutors have alleged.
The government sought to dismiss those defenses in their rebuttal. The law does not require physical contact for the assault of an officer charge and if Jensen really was confused, he wouldn’t have been able to come so close to Vice President Mike Pence during the riot, prosecutors argued. “That doesn’t happen by confusion,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Allen said.
More than 850 people have been arrested and more than 350 convicted in connection with the Capitol attack.
This week, the FBI arrested five individuals associated with the far-right America First movement, and a judge also sentenced a former Army reservist and Adolf Hitler enthusiast who stormed the Capitol to four years in prison.
Liz Brown-Kaiser reports and produces for NBC News, based in Washington.
Ryan J. Reilly is a justice reporter for NBC News.
Zoë Richards contributed.
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