WASHINGTON (AP) — An Iowa man was “arming” protesters who joined him in chasing a police officer down a stairwell during one of the most harrowing scenes of a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol. the US, a prosecutor told the jury Friday at the close of the hearing. the judgment of man.
Douglas Jensen had a knife in his pocket and was wearing a T-shirt expressing his adherence to the QAnon conspiracy theory when he joined the rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. One of the videos that went viral after of the siege captured Jensen at the head of the crowd that followed Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up the stairs.
“The defendant wasn’t just leading the mob. He was arming it,” Assistant US Attorney Hava Mirell said during closing arguments in Jensen’s trial. “He knew he had the numbers and he was willing to use them.”
Jurors have begun deliberating in the case against Jensen, a construction worker who is among hundreds of people charged with federal crimes for his conduct on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. Jensen’s t-shirt, which featured a large “Q” and a bald eagle along with two QAnon slogans made him stand out from the crowd of rioters.
Defense attorney Christopher Davis said the T-shirt was symbolic of Jensen’s adherence to QAnon, which centered on the unfounded belief that former President Donald Trump was secretly fighting a cabal of Satan-worshiping “deep state” enemies. , prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites. During Trump’s time in the White House, QAnon reached beyond the confines of the Internet to influence mainstream Republican circles.
“The pandemic (COVID-19) did strange things to us. He did weird things for everybody,” Davis said. “Apparently Mr. Jensen was one of them.”
Jensen believed in the conspiracy theory’s doomsday prophecy that “The Storm” was brewing and would usher in mass arrests and executions of Trump’s enemies, including Vice President Mike Pence. Before the riots, Trump and his allies spread the false narrative that Pence could somehow have overturned the results of the 2020 election.
After scaling the outer walls of the Capitol, Jensen climbed through a broken window to enter the building. Prosecutors said Jensen learned from a friend’s text message that Pence was about to certify the election results.
“That’s all about to change,” Jensen replied.
Pence was presiding over the Senate on January 6 when a joint session of Congress was called to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Photos showed Jensen with arms outstretched as he faced a line of police officers near the Senate cameras. Senate.
“Go arrest the vice president,” Jensen told one of the officers, according to prosecutors.
“This was a terribly confused man on January 6,” Davis said of his client.
The defense attorney urged the jury to try Jensen for his own actions and not for what others did on Capitol Hill.
“Jan. 6 is not sitting at that table. Douglas Jensen is,” Davis said, gesturing to his client.
Jensen did not testify at his trial, which began Tuesday. Goodman was a key witness for prosecutors.
Before running upstairs, Goodman approached Jensen and other troublemakers with his hand on his gun. Fearing for his life, Goodman retreated upstairs and was met by other officers guarding the entrance to the Senate, where senators were being evacuated, according to prosecutors.
“That was not a follow-the-leader game. That was Officer Goodman in survival mode,” Mirell said.
Jensen is charged with seven counts, including charges that he obstructed Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote, that he assaulted or interfered with police officers and that he engaged in disorderly conduct inside the Capitol while carrying his knife. He is not accused of brandishing the knife.
“Doug Jensen would not be arrested on January 6 until he got what he came for, and that was to stop the peaceful transfer of power,” Mirell said.
Davis said Jensen did not forcibly assault Goodman or anyone else.
“Everything is on video,” he said. “He never did.”
Mirell argued that Jensen did not have to physically touch Goodman to be convicted of an assault charge.
“Just a threat to use force,” he said.
Jenson drove back to his home in Des Moines, Iowa, the day after the riot. The next day, he walked six miles to a police station and showed up unannounced, saying he was probably a wanted man. But there was no warrant for his arrest when two FBI agents questioned him at the station.
Jensen told agents that he considered himself a “digital soldier” who “religiously” followed QAnon. He said that he pushed his way to the front of the crowd because he “wanted to make Q stand out.”
“I was basically intending to be the poster boy, and it really worked out,” he said, according to a Jan. 8, 2021, transcript of the interview.
At least 880 people have been charged with federal crimes related to unrest on Capitol Hill. Approximately 400 of them have pleaded guilty. Jurors have convicted eight defendants of rioting on Capitol Hill after trials. None of the defendants who had jury trials were acquitted of any charges.