Jan. 6 defendant dubbed 'Conan O'Riot' gets prison time for role in Capitol attack

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WASHINGTON — A Jan. 6 suspect dubbed "Conan O'Riot" for his resemblance to comedian Conan O'Brien was sentenced this week to 75 days successful national situation for his domiciled successful nan U.S. Capitol attack.

Derek Nelson, a erstwhile Marine, was arrested successful October, complete 2 years aft he was first identified by online "sedition hunters" who person aided nan FBI successful hundreds of arrests of Jan. 6 defendants. Nelson pleaded guilty to a count of entering and remaining successful a restricted building backmost successful March.

Federal prosecutors had sought six months successful situation for nan 31-year-old Nelson, who entered nan Capitol alongside his friend and chap erstwhile Marine Derek Dodder, who told national authorities that Nelson wore his Revolutionary War costume to beryllium a “rabble rouser.”

The duo purchased respirators from a section hardware store, and were portion of nan breach of constabulary lines, pinch Nelson grabbing 1 officer's shield and attempting to body-check another, and past helping a chap rioter prime up nan shield aft nan serviceman dropped it. In 1 video from Jan. 6, Nelson told a videographer he was successful Washington “to commencement a revolution.”

Redhead dubbed 'Conan O'Riot' by Jan. 6 sleuths arrested by FBI.Derek Nelson astatine nan Capitol connected Jan. 6, 2021.U.S. Attorney's Office for nan District of Columbia

“Who do they activity for?” Nelson yelled wrong nan Capitol while pumping his fist into nan air. “Us!”

Nelson soon joined nan mob trying to breach nan main doorway to nan level of nan U.S. House of Representatives, wherever rioters shattered windows and had a stand-off pinch members of Congress while equipped rule enforcement officers pointed guns done nan surgery glass. In total, he spent astir 48 minutes wrong nan building.

Nelson said pinch nan authorities doubly pursuant to his plea agreement, but national prosecutors said he gave galore explanations that "were either internally inconsistent aliases did not guidelines up to superior scrutiny." He later said that he thought his revolutionary clothing was a "fitting awesome for nan occasion" and admitted that erstwhile he shouted “To protect nan Constitution of nan United States against enemies, overseas and domestic," he was referring to members of Congress arsenic "enemies."

Redhead dubbed 'Conan O'Riot' by Jan. 6 sleuths arrested by FBI
Nelson, 2nd from right, captured wearing a state disguise successful footage from wrong nan Capitol building connected Jan. 6, 2021. U.S. Attorney's Office for nan District of Columbia

Nelson's lawyer wrote successful a sentencing memo that nan erstwhile Marine regretted his actions connected Jan. 6, and that he was a "foolish and impressionable young man" erstwhile he came to Washington "lured by a guileless but misguided consciousness of patriotism."

"Derek Nelson was steeped successful nan connection of division, and fed a fare of sermon that demonized nan different side," his lawyers wrote. "It’s nary wonderment that he came to nan Capitol deluded by a statement of reasoning that had been served advertisement nauseum."

Now, they wrote, Nelson is simply a devoted hubby and begetter whose "remorse and acceptance of work for his criminal behaviour is manifest and sincere."

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, nan national judge whose ruling against nan government's usage of nan obstruction of an charismatic proceeding statute made its measurement to nan Supreme Court and is now causing a ripple effect connected galore Jan. 6 cases, connected Wednesday sentenced Nelson to 75 days successful prison, ordering him to surrender wrong 60 days. Nelson will besides person to service a twelvemonth of supervised release.

The FBI has made much than 1,400 arrests successful nan 3.5 years since nan Capitol attack, and national prosecutors person secured much than 1,000 convictions. More than 540 defendants person been sentenced to prison, pinch position of incarceration ranging from a fewer days down bars to 22 years successful national prison for Enrique Tarrio, nan erstwhile Proud Boys leader convicted of seditious conspiracy. Hundreds of different rioters person received probationary sentences. The statute of limitations for crimes committed connected Jan. 6 expires successful little than 1.5 years, successful January 2026.

Ryan J. Reilly

Ryan J. Reilly is simply a justness newsman for NBC News.


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