Stephen Ayres, Jan. 6 participant who testified earlier than Home panel, sentenced to 2 years probation

Washington — Stephen Ayres, an Ohio man who was a part of the mob that entered the U.S. Capitol constructing on Jan. 6, 2021, and later appeared earlier than the Home choose committee probing the assault, was sentenced to probation by a federal decide Thursday and can keep away from incarceration.

U.S. District Decide John Bates ordered Ayres to serve 24 months probation, full 100 hours of group service and pay $500 in restitution, telling federal prosecutors and Ayres he believed the sentence is adequate “to lead to some deterrence and an applicable diploma of deterrence.”

“He was within the Capitol solely about 10 minutes … by no means going into any of the extra delicate areas of the Capitol,” Bates mentioned in the course of the sentencing listening to. “He has totally cooperated with regulation enforcement, and I’ve to say that from my evaluation, he has proven real regret and remorse, and that features testifying earlier than the January 6 committee.”

Bates additionally mentioned Ayres, in contrast to others charged for his or her conduct on Jan. 6, performed no position in inflicting the breach of the Capitol and didn’t destroy proof.

“The occasions of January 6, it was a travesty in American historical past, a stunning assault on our democratic values and establishments and on the bodily establishment of america Capitol,” the decide mentioned. “All who participated in that riot, I believe it may be referred to as, have to be held accountable.”

Bates referred to as the Capitol assault “a risk to one of many important tenets of our cherished type of authorities, and that’s the peaceable switch of energy from one presidential administration to a different” and a “blight on the nation.”

Ayres was arrested in late January 2021 and charged with 4 counts associated to his participation within the Jan. 6 assault. He agreed to plead guilty to 1 rely of disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted constructing, a misdemeanor. 

Ayres admitted to touring from his dwelling in Ohio to Washington, D.C., to protest Congress’ certification of the Electoral Faculty votes and took part within the rally outdoors the White Home earlier than marching with different supporters of former President Donald Trump to the Capitol.

In response to court filings, he entered the Capitol simply earlier than 3 p.m., and remained contained in the constructing for roughly 10 minutes, becoming a member of others “chanting and parading.” He additionally made posts on his Fb account within the days earlier than the riot, together with one through which he accused Chief Justice John Roberts, President Biden and Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi of committing treason towards Trump.

Federal prosecutors requested the court docket to impose a sentence of 60 days in jail for Ayres, adopted by one 12 months of supervised launch, $500 in restitution and 60 hours of group service. 

“The federal government merely can’t condone that sort of conduct, your honor,” Nihar Mohanty, an assistant U.S. lawyer, instructed Bates of Ayres’ actions. Nonetheless, he famous that Ayres “behaved much less culpably” than different defendants discovered to have assaulted law enforcement officials or destroyed property.

Each Ayres and his spouse provided transient remarks earlier than Bates handed down his sentence. Ayres, who gave the impression to be crying as he spoke, apologized to the court docket and the American folks, saying he received “caught up” in posts he was seeing on social media.

“I pray every single day for the officers which are struggling, with households that misplaced their family members,” he mentioned. “I simply hope sooner or later I can get up and never should stay with it every single day, as a result of I do every single day.”

Ayres testified in July earlier than lawmakers investigating the occasions surrounding Jan. 6 and the assault itself and instructed the Home choose committee that he and others who breached the Capitol have been following what Trump mentioned. He mentioned he believed Trump’s baseless claims the 2020 election was stolen and instructed investigators he probably wouldn’t have traveled to Washington for the rally on Jan. 6 if Trump hadn’t pushed these allegations.

Gillian Morley contributed to this report.

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