By Jan Wolfe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Ohio men on Wednesday received 45-day sentences after pleading guilty for their participation in the deadly Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump, becoming the first defendants given jail time for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses committed that day.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg rejected arguments by the two friends, Derek Jancart and Erik Rau, that they should be spared from incarceration because they have accepted responsibility for their actions. Each pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum of six months behind bars.
Both men expressed remorse during sentencing hearings on Wednesday.
"I 100% know better than to do what I did that day," Rau told the judge, adding: "I absolutely should have had my wife and my kids in mind."
"I do apologize for my individual actions that day," Jancart said. "I did get caught up in the moment."
While neither man was accused of engaging in violent acts on Jan. 6 – when Trump supporters sought to block Congress from formally certifying President Joe Biden's election victory – prosecutors said both came prepared for violence.
According to prosecutors, Jancart brought a gas mask and Rau brought kevlar-lined gloves. Both were accused of being among the first dozens of people to breach the Capitol, emboldening others to follow.
Prosecutors have said Rau screamed "we have you surrounded" as he entered the building. They said in a court filing that Rau's "threatening statements" that day were "akin to inciting a riot and contributed to the environment of terror on that day."
According to prosecutors, the pair celebrated their actions on social media after the attack.
Jancart and Rau were the eighth and nine defendants to be sentenced for misdemeanor offenses committed on Jan 6. Others who pleaded guilty to misdemeanors have received probationary sentences or were spared additional time behind bars after being held in pretrial custody.
Defendants who have pleaded guilty to violent felony offenses committed on Jan. 6 are expected to face stiffer penalties.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Will Dunham)
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