Doug Jensen, a QAnon conspiracy theorist who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 in support of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, was ordered released on home incarceration by a federal judge on Tuesday. Jensen, who was among the first rioters to enter the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government and chased U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up the stairs leading to the Senate, believed that he was at the White House, which is the center of the executive branch.
U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly said that Jensen’s conduct was serious, but that the threat Jensen posed to the community could be mitigated through strict conditions of release. Under federal law, pretrial detention is supposed to be a last resort and implemented only when there are no other conditions that would ensure public safety.
Judge Kelly cited Jensen’s lack of a grade-school level understanding of the U.S. government in his decision to release Jensen. Jensen, in Jan. 6 videos that were released to the media on Monday night, repeatedly stated that he believed he was at the White House.
“This is me, touching the fucking White House,” Jensen said, with his hand on an exterior wall of the U.S. Capitol
“Storm the White House!” Jensen screamed in another video as he panned up to the Capitol dome. “That’s what we do!”
Judge Kelly said that Jensen couldn’t have preplanned or coordinated his actions on Jan. 6 because Jensen “had no basic understanding of where he even was.”
Jensen cannot access internet-capable devices, and his family members must have their devices password-protected, Kelly ruled. Jensen will be released into the custody of his wife, who swore to ensure that her husband abided by his conditions of release.
HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic, who was reporting from inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, filmed the widely seen video of a mob of Trump supporters facing off with Officer Goodman and pursuing him up the stairs. Judge Kelly praised Goodman, who diverted the mob away from an entrance to the U.S. Senate chamber, where lawmakers were still gathered.
Judge Kelly reiterated that his decision to release Jensen under strict conditions shouldn’t be read as an indication that the judge believes Jensen’s conduct wasn’t serious, or an indication of how Jensen will be sentenced after his conviction.