Duke Wilson, a 67-year-old Donald Trump supporter who attacked police officers on Jan. 6 while wearing a “CNN FAKE NEWS” hat, pleaded guilty to two felony counts on Tuesday as part of plea deal with federal prosecutors.
Wilson, who was arrested in Idaho on April 15, pleaded guilty to count three and count seven of his indictment. Under count three, Wilson pleaded guilty to feloniously assaulting a U.S. Capitol Police Department officer identified as “A.G.” by striking the officer with his fist and striking them with a white pole. Under count seven, Wilson admitted to attempting to obstruct an official proceeding ― Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote ― by attempting to forcibly enter the Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth accepted Wilson’s guilty plea. Lamberth told Wilson that he didn’t understand how he got himself in the posture he was in, but told him that he “took a good step forward today.”
Wilson’s lawyer and a federal prosecutor indicated that the defendant’s sentencing guidelines range would be between 41 and 51 months in federal prison. A judge could depart from that sentencing guidelines range, and the maximum penalty for the obstruction charge is 20 years in prison.
The FBI has arrested more than 600 defendants as part of the sprawling investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Hundreds more arrests are in the works, many of them with the assistance of a network of online sleuths called #SeditionHunters who have identified many of the rioters who stormed the Capitol in support of Trump on Jan. 6. Sleuths had branded Wilson as #FakeNewsHat before his arrest.
Last week, Jan. 6 defendant Robert Scott Palmer ― who assaulted officers with a fire extinguisher while wearing an American flag jacket bearing Trump’s name ― indicated he’ll enter a guilty plea. Jacob Chansley, better known as the “QAnon Shaman,” also pleaded guilty to a felony charge. Chansley’s attorney, Al Watkins, said his client had been under “a great deal of familial pressure not to take a plea because President Trump was going to reassume office and, my goodness, pardon him.”
Another Capitol defendant, Doug Jensen, was ordered back to jail after he was caught watching MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s “cyber symposium” that made baseless claims about a stolen election (Jensen had been under strict orders to stay off the internet after he was released from jail). Another judge ordered Sam Lazar ― a Pennsylvania man caught on video assaulting officers at the Capitol on Jan. 6 ― held in jail until his trial. Lazar, who members of the #SeditionHunters community labeled #FacePaintBlowHard, spent months attending political events and posing for pictures with prominent Pennsylvania Republicans who have promoted the bogus “Stop the Steal” movement, all while he was on the FBI’s Capitol wanted list.