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Stephen Ayres, Jan. 6 participant who testified before House 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 choose Thursday and can keep away from incarceration.

U.S. District Choose John Bates ordered Ayres to serve 24 months probation, full 100 hours of neighborhood service and pay $500 in restitution, telling federal prosecutors and Ayres he believed the sentence is enough “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 through the sentencing listening to. “He has absolutely cooperated with legislation 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, not like 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 surprising assault on our democratic values and establishments and on the bodily establishment of the USA Capitol,” the choose mentioned. “All who participated in that revolt, I believe it may be known as, have to be held accountable.”

Bates known as the Capitol assault “a menace to one of many very 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 at least one depend 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 School votes and took part within the rally exterior the White Home earlier than marching with different supporters of former President Donald Trump to the Capitol.

In line with 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 revolt, together with one by which he accused Chief Justice John Roberts, President Biden and Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi of committing treason towards Trump.

Federal prosecutors requested the courtroom to impose a sentence of 60 days in jail for Ayres, adopted by one yr of supervised launch, $500 in restitution and 60 hours of neighborhood service. 

“The federal government merely can not condone that sort of conduct, your honor,” Nihar Mohanty, an assistant U.S. legal professional, advised 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 supplied temporary remarks earlier than Bates handed down his sentence. Ayres, who seemed to be crying as he spoke, apologized to the courtroom and the American folks, saying he acquired “caught up” in posts he was seeing on social media.

“I pray daily for the officers which are struggling, with households that misplaced their family members,” he mentioned. “I simply hope someday I can get up and never need to dwell with it daily, as a result of I do daily.”

Ayres testified in July earlier than lawmakers investigating the occasions surrounding Jan. 6 and the assault itself and advised the Home choose committee that he and others who breached the Capitol had been following what Trump mentioned. He mentioned he believed Trump’s baseless claims the 2020 election was stolen and advised investigators he seemingly 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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