Capitol riot was ‘fomented intentionally’ by 'psychological manipulation' from right-wing actors: attorney

In late July, Jack Jesse Griffith, 26, of Tennessee pleaded guilty to knowingly entering restricted areas of the Capitol in a videoconference plea hearing.

He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building. On top of a possible six months in jail, he faces a $5,000 fine and potential supervised release. He also agreed to pay $500 in restitution to the United States.

In a sentencing memo, his attorney H. Heather Shaner argued that her client was manipulated by right-wing propaganda on the internet, saying that what occurred on January 6, 2021 "was not a naturally developed political protest."

"It was, I believe, a coup attempt — fomented intentionally by right-wing actors who used data-mining and psychological manipulation," the memo stated. "Vulnerable individuals were identified and persuaded through the internet that it was their patriotic duty to come to Washington to support Trump. In Washington they were emboldened and ushered down the avenue to 'Stop the Steal' and to storm' the Capitol."

As a result of a plea agreement, the government dismissed four other misdemeanor charges Griffith faced Thursday in connection with the attack. He is set to be sentenced on Oct. 15.