Five individuals accused in connection with the Capitol riot orchestrated the initial break-in on January 6

On February 2, 2024, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. delivered guilty verdicts in one of the first and most significant prosecutions related to the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. Ryan Samsel, James Grant, Paul Johnson, Stephen Randolph, and Jason Blythe were found guilty of various charges, including assaulting police, for their roles in the violent siege.

According to prosecutors, the five defendants were among the first to breach the Capitol and initiate the attack, forcefully removing a police barricade and injuring Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards in the process. Edwards, who testified against the defendants, described the scene as “carnage” and “chaos,” comparing it to a war zone.

Samsel and Randolph were found guilty of assaulting Edwards and other charges, while Blythe, Johnson, and Grant were found guilty of assaulting a different officer and other felonies. They are scheduled to be sentenced on June 13, with Edwards expected to speak at the hearing.

The defendants are currently being held in pretrial detention, and prosecutors have requested that the other three be sent to jail until their sentencing. The Justice Department argued that despite police efforts to disperse the crowd and defend the Capitol, the defendants continued to fuel the riot by assaulting officers.

The guilty verdicts serve as a reminder that the events of January 6 were not just a protest, but a violent attack on our democracy. The sentencing hearing will provide an opportunity for Edwards and others to share their experiences and for justice to be served.  

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