An ex-West Virginia lawmaker who wondered if President Donald Trump would “pardon anybody who gets arrested” on a Facebook livestream during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol will spend three months locked up, a federal judge determined Wednesday.
Derrick Evans, a former GOP representative in the West Virginia House of Delegates, got prison time instead of probation after he livestreamed himself joyfully screaming, “We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”
Evans, 37, was arrested two days after the ugly riot that delayed the certification of the 2020 presidential election in favor of President Joe Biden by several hours. Evans pleaded guilty in March to a felony charge of civil disorder.
US District Judge Royce Lamberth said he sentenced him to prison time because he didn’t want another riot next election.
“I can’t just give you probation in a case like this,” Lamberth said. “It doesn’t reflect the feelings of the community. It doesn’t reflect the feelings of the country about what happened that day.
“I don’t want another riot the next election. I don’t want this to happen again, so I’m going to do what I can.”
Prosecutors argued Evans was a leader of the mob who only made things worse.
“He was a leader in this riot. He was a leader on the ground, he was a leader on social media, and he was a leader in his state,” Prosecutor Kathryn Fifield said, according to CNN.
Evans was sworn into office weeks before Jan. 6, but resigned one day after he was arrested.
Before Jan. 6 Evans told his 30,000 Facebook followers to “fight For Trump” at the nation’s capital, court documents state. On Jan. 6 he skipped Trump’s speech and headed straight to the Capitol where he recorded the breach for more than an hour, the feds said.
“Guys, oh my gosh, I can’t even explain what is happening right now, how amazing this is to see in person,” he said during the live stream. “I am in awe. The revolution has started. The revolution has started.”
He described what rioters were doing and fist bumped with other people who marched inside the Capitol.
After leaving the building, he thought about covering up his involvement, according to court records.
“He knew almost immediately he had done something wrong,” Fifield said, according to West Virginia-based Metro News. “He texted his friends right after he exited the Capitol and asked if he should delete this livestream so there’s no evidence of what he did. Unfortunately, the internet being the internet didn’t work out so well for Mr. Evans.”
Evans, also a former teacher and coach, said Wednesday he is a “good person who unfortunately was caught up in the moment.”
“I will forever bear the reminder that I made a crucial mistake. I’ve let down myself, I’ve let down my community and most importantly I’ve let down my family,” Evans told the judge.
Evans’ attorney, Paul Taylor, in a bid to get his client only probation argued in court documents the video of Evans indicates a “lack of experience, wisdom or judgment rather than primarily criminal intent.”
Evans also needs to pay $2,000 in restitution and a $2,000 fine.
With Post wires