Sunday, May 28, 2023

NM Capitol Riot Defendant Pleads Guilty to Picketing


The fourth and final defendant from New Mexico charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has pleaded guilty. Former Farmington resident Shawn Bradley Witzemann, who claims he was attending the insurrection as a journalist was arrested in April 2021 and originally pleaded not guilty. Witzemann is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds as well as disorderly and disruptive conduct.

Witzemann plead guilty on July 21 last week. The charge carries the potential for six months in federal prison and a $5,000 fine for restitution.

Witzemann says he was there as a journalist and filmed the rioters as they entered the Capitol through the Senate Wing door and later as they were in the Rotunda and an area called the Crypt, a vaulted space beneath the Rotunda. He later posted the footage to his social media pages. According to his plea agreement, he and other rioters approached a Capitol police officer and asked him to "Brother, stand with us."

Judge Thomas F. Hogan of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia will have the final say on whether the plea is accepted or not.

Only one of the four defendants was acquitted of charges stemming from the Capitol riot. Former federal contractor for Los Alamos National Labs Matthew Martin was acquitted in April by the same judge who found Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin guilty on one charge of trespassing and was sentenced to 14 days in prison. Retired Army Lt. Colonel Leonard Gruppo of Clovis pleaded guilty last year. He was sentenced to 24 months of probation.


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