A Maryland man who wore a Proud Boys hat while livestreaming the Jan. 6 siege and filming the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt has pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol.
Andrew Ryan Bennett made the plea Thursday in court papers filed with the DC District Court. He is the 20th person to be arrested and pleaded guilty during the Capitol riot.
Bennett pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor. He faces a $500 restitution and a maximum jail term of six months.
His sentencing is scheduled for October, CNN reports. He may not be serving a prison sentence.
So far, three of the participants in the Capitol riots have been convicted. One of them has been jailed.
A Maryland man who wore a Proud Boys hat while livestreaming the Jan. 6 siege and filming the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt has pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol
Ashli Babbitt (left and right) was shot and killed in the US Capitol when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building and violently clashed with police in an attempt to prevent Joe Biden’s victory on 6 January was certified
Babbitt can be seen above just after she was shot by a police officer after trying to break through a glass opening on a door leading to the Speaker’s Lobby in Congress
Paul Allard Hodgkins, a 38-year-old crane operator from Tampa, Florida, was sentenced to eight months in prison — the first rioter to receive a sentence in federal court.
Hodgkins broke through the US Senate chamber with a Trump campaign
Last month, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, 49, of Indiana, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. Under the terms of her plea deal, she doesn’t have to spend time in jail.
During her court hearing, Morgan-Lloyd cried when she apologized, saying she was ‘ashamed’ [the pro-Trump demonstration in Washington, DC] became a savage display of violence.’
“I would never have been there if I had known it was going to end like this,” she added.
But during an interview with Fox News just a few days later, Morgan-Lloyd changed tone, telling host Laura Ingraham, “Where I was, we don’t see anyone damaging anything. The people were actually very polite.’
In this file image of the US Capitol Police video, Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, Florida, stands front, in the pit on the floor of the US Senate on January 6. Hodgkins was sentenced Monday to eight months in prison
Bennett, a resident of Columbia, Maryland, surrendered to the FBI’s Baltimore field office on the morning of January 26.
According to the FBI complaint, agents received a tip that Bennett had streamed the videos live on Facebook.
They say videos posted to his Facebook page that day showed Bennett in the Capitol wearing a baseball cap with the motto of the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for violent clashes at political rallies.
In other videos, Bennett shouts ‘no destruction!’ when someone is seen kicking a door in the Capitol, but court documents say he apparently yelled ‘break it down!’ to another door, at the entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby. Babbitt, a rioter, was later shot dead by police when she tried to climb through a broken window.
A gunshot can be heard in one of the videos.
Two days before the mob stormed the Capitol, Bennett wrote on Facebook, “You’d better be prepared for chaos is coming and I’ll be fighting for my freedom in DC on 1/6/2021!” and contained a #STOPTHESTEAL hashtag, according to a court document.
That post also featured “#FIGHTBACK” for “Lin Wood and his family!”
‘This is my line. Whether you’re with me or against me. Keep thinking I’m crazy! Remember these dates,” he reportedly wrote on Facebook before listing January 6 and referring to a “MAGA caravan” on its way to the capital.
Wood is a lawyer who repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims in court in failed attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Donald Trump.
Officers searched Bennett’s home on Jan. 11 and found the “Proud Boys” hat he was wearing in the videos.
According to court documents, Bennett told officers that he had traveled to Washington alone and entered the Capitol with a mob.
“Bennett told officers he knew it was wrong to do that,” court documents said.
It was not clear whether he had appeared in court for the first time. His lawyer was not immediately available for comment.
Anna Morgan Lloyd, 49, was ordered by a federal judge last month to serve three years of probation, perform 120 hours of community service and pay back $500 for her role in the January 6 storming of the Capitol.
In April, federal prosecutors announced they would not press charges against a police officer who shot and killed Babbitt when she climbed through the broken part of a door during the uprising.
Authorities spent months considering whether criminal charges were appropriate for the Capitol police officer who shot and killed Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego.
The department’s decision, while expected, officially closed the investigation.
Prosecutors said they watched the video of the shooting, along with statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses, examined physical evidence at the scene and reviewed the autopsy results.
“Based on that investigation, officials have determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal charge,” the department said in a statement.
Video clips posted online show Babbitt, dressed in a stars-and-striped backpack, stepping forward and starting through the waist-high opening of an area of the Capitol known as the Speaker’s Lobby when a gunshot is heard.
She falls backwards. Another video shows other unidentified people trying to lift Babbitt. She can be seen sinking back to the ground.
Trump and other Republicans have demanded that the name of the officer who fatally shot Babbitt be made public.
But federal authorities have refused to do so, saying it could endanger the officer’s life.
Babbitt’s family filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department last month, demanding that it hand over all video footage, witness statements and documents collected during the department’s internal investigation into the shooting.
Seven people died during and after the riots, including three other Trump supporters who had medical emergencies.
Two police officers died by suicide in the days that followed, and a third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and later died after contacting the protesters.
A coroner determined that he had died of natural causes.