A Maryland man who wore a Proud Boys hat while livestreaming the January 6 siege and videotaping the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt has pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol.
Andrew Ryan Bennett entered a guilty plea in court papers filed with the DC District Court on Thursday. He is the 20th person arrested in the Capitol riots who has entered a guilty plea.
Bennett pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor. He faces a restitution payment of $500 and a maximum jail sentence of six months.
His sentencing is scheduled for October, CNN is reporting. It is possible he may not serve any jail time.
So far, three of the participants in the Capitol riot have been sentenced. One of them has been given jail time.
A Maryland man who wore a Proud Boys hat while livestreaming the January 6 siege and videotaping the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt has pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol
Ashli Babbitt (left and right) was shot and killed inside the US Capitol when then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building and violently clashed with police in a bid to stop Joe Biden’s victory being certified on January 6
Babbitt is seen above moments after she was shot by a police officer as she tried 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 jail – the first rioter to receive a punishment in federal court.
Hodgkins breached the US Senate chamber carrying a Trump campaign
Last month, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, 49, of Indiana, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. As per the terms of her plea bargain, she will not have to serve any time in prison.
During her court hearing, Morgan-Lloyd shed tears as she apologized, saying she was ‘ashamed [the pro-Trump demonstration in Washington, DC] became a savage display of violence.’
‘I would have never been there if I had known it would turn out that way,’ she added.
But during an interview with Fox News just a few days later, Morgan-Lloyd struck a different tone, telling host Laura Ingraham: ‘Where I was at, we see nobody damage anything. People were actually very polite.’
In this file image from US Capitol Police video, Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa, Florida, front, stands in the well on the floor of the US Senate on January 6. Hodgkins was sentenced on Monday to eight months in prison
Bennett, a resident of Columbia, Maryland, surrendered on the morning of January 26 to the FBI’s Baltimore field office.
The FBI’s criminal complaint says agents received a tip that Bennett had been livestreaming the videos on Facebook.
They say videos posted to his Facebook page that day showed Bennett inside the Capitol wearing a baseball hat with the motto of the Proud Boys, a far-right group known for engaging in violent clashes at political rallies.
In other videos, Bennett yells ‘no destruction!’ when someone is seen kicking one door inside the Capitol, but court documents say he seemingly chanted ‘break it down!’ in relation to another door, at the entrance to the Speaker’s Lobby, where Babbitt, a rioter, was later shot and killed by police while trying 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 better be ready chaos is coming and I will be in DC on 1/6/2021 fighting for my freedom!’ and included a #STOPTHESTEAL hashtag, court document said.
That post also said ‘#FIGHTBACK’ for ‘Lin Wood and his family!’
‘This is my line. Ether you with me or against me. Keep thinking I’m crazy! Remember these dates,’ he allegedly wrote on Facebook before listing January 6 and referring to a ‘MAGA caravan’ headed to the capital.
Wood is an attorney who repeatedly made unsupported claims in court in failed efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in favor of President Donald Trump.
Agents searched Bennett’s residence on January 11 and found the ‘Proud Boys’ hat he was seen wearing in the videos.
Court documents said Bennett told agents he had traveled alone to Washington and entered the Capitol with a crowd.
‘Bennett told agents that he knew it was wrong to do so,’ court documents said.
It was not clear if he had made an initial court appearance. His attorney could not immediately be reached 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 $500 in restitution for her role in storming the Capitol on January 6
In April, federal prosecutors announced they would not bring charges against a police officer who shot and killed Babbitt as she climbed through the broken part of a door during the insurrection.
Authorities had considered for months whether criminal charges were appropriate for the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego.
The department’s decision, though expected, officially closed out the investigation.
Prosecutors said they had reviewed video of the shooting, along with statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses, examined physical evidence from the scene and reviewed the autopsy results.
‘Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,’ the department said in a statement.
Video clips posted online depict Babbitt, wearing a stars and stripes backpack, stepping up and beginning to go through the waist-high opening of an area of the Capitol known as the Speaker’s Lobby when a gunshot is heard.
She falls backward. Another video shows other unidentified people attempting to lift Babbitt up. She can be seen slumping 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, stating that it could endanger the officer’s life.
Babbitt’s family last month filed a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police Department, demanding that it hand over all video footage as well as witness statements and documents gathered during the department’s internal investigation into the shooting.
Seven people died during and after the rioting, including three other Trump supporters who suffered 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 engaging with the protesters.
A medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.