Iraq War vet with traumatic brain injury pleads guilty to felony assault during MAGA riot
Brad Reed

Mark Leffingwell pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony count of assaulting a law enforcement officers at the January 6 Capitol riot. Leffingwell reportedly suffered a traumatic brain injury as a Marine on tour in Iraq and the well-known federal judge who will sentence him described his as a "difficult case."

Leffingwell, 51, of Seattle was among those attempting to break through a police barrier inside the Capitol Building, according to FBI charging documents. Here's the account of the arresting officer:

"Leffingwell attempted to push past me and other officers. When he was deterred from advancing further into the building, Leffingwell punched me repeatedly with a closed fist. At one point, Leffingwell punched another law enforcement officer as well. I was struck in the helmet that I was wearing and in the chest.

"While in custody, but prior to being advised of his Miranda rights, Leffingwell spontaneously apologized for striking the officer. When told that the officer who Leffingwell had struck was me, Leffingwell apologized for striking me."

Leffingwell entered his guilty plea Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, according to the Courthouse News Service. Here's its account:

"'I was not trying to attack," Leffingwell told (Jackson). 'If someone had told me that I couldn't go in there, I wouldn't have gone in there. I shouldn't have gone in.'

The news report added that "Leffingwell danced around Jackson's question of whether he intentionally hit the two officers, before finally admitting that he did. 'Yes, your honor,' Leffingwell said. 'I shouldn't have hit them.'"

And there was this on Leffingwell's past:

"Leffingwell sustained a traumatic brain injury while on tour in Iraq during a four-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. His defense attorney Mark Carroll said Leffingwell is a fully disabled military veteran. Seeking more time to collect records on Leffingwell's traumatic brain injury, Carroll asked Jackson for a later sentencing date. Jackson agreed to sentence Leffingwell on Feb. 10, 2022.

"I think this is going to be a difficult case,' Jackson said," according to the report.


Leffingwell faces a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, though the sentencing guidelines recommend between 24 and 30 months for the charge of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers, the news service reported.

You can read the FBI charging documents here.