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Former West Virginia lawmaker will serve prison time after January 6th insurrection

Former West Virginia legislator Derrick Evans appeared via zoom to hear his sentence.
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 9:27 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A former West Virginia lawmaker is heading to prison for his part in the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth sentenced Derrick Evans to three months incarceration, three years of supervised release, and thousands of dollars in fees that include a $2,000 restitution fee to the Architect of the Capitol.

Evans became emotional as he spoke to the federal judge before the sentence. He said, “I accept full responsibility for my actions,” adding that he would forever bear the reminder that he made a “crucial mistake.”

Judge Lamberth denied a request from Evans’ lawyer, Paul Taylor, to allow Evans to only serve probation. The judge noted this is a ‘serious’ offense that deserves prison time. The federal judge added that granting probation would not reflect the feelings of the community or of the country. The sentence is the result of a plea deal where prosecutors dropped all other charges, in exchange for Evans pleading guilty to civil disorder.

Outside court, Taylor told the Washington News Bureau, “I’ve had many private conversations with him and he is regretful of what he did and, and what happened and most importantly, the fallout.”

Evan’s attorney added, “you know, three months in prison is nothing to snort at, but it’s not the end of the world. It will be over probably before he knows it. And, he’ll have bragging rights after that... as far as normalcy, I think to a large extent he spoke for the people that elected him and that he lives with in coming here in the first place on January 6th. So I think things will be normal for him. I think he’ll be a hero, I hope.”

The prosecution called Evans a “leader in this riot,” adding “no rioter was a tourist.” They argued Evans was deliberate, knowledgeable, careful, and fully present both mentally and physically. They played several clips of the riot in court that they said were taken and posted by Evans on social media. Prosecutors said that video shows rioters breaking through fences and overwhelming police as Evans shouted, “we’re in, we’re in.”

Prosecutors said Evans spent nearly 10 minutes inside the U.S. Capitol. They told the court that his motivation for being there was that Evans believed the election was stolen. They said Evans held a position of public trust as a lawmaker when he committed the offense and the judge replied that “makes it worse.” Federal prosecutors added that Evans also had a large social media presence and that he played a role in escalating events at the Capitol.

After the January 6, 2021 attack, Evans was arrested and, shortly thereafter, he resigned from his position in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Judge Lamberth acknowledged that Evans had paid a price for his involvement in the January 6th insurrection through that resignation. He also acknowledged that Evans was not violent inside the Capitol building. However, the judge said his original reaction was to give Evans the maximum of 6 months in prison rather than the 3 months he issued.

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