MAGA rioter avoids jail – and is still on a Utah school board ballot
Willard Peart at the U.S Capitol on January 6, 2021. (DOJ Photo)

A Utah man was sentenced to probation today for his role in the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol -- just in time for him to continue his campaign for a seat on the local school board.

Willard “Jake” Peart, of Toquerville, Utah, pleaded guilty today to a single misdemeanor charge of parading at the Capitol. U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman sentenced Peart to three years of probation and 240 hours of community service. He is also required to comply with 60 days of home detention with electronic monitoring and will pay $1,000 in fines, KSL-TV of Salt Lake City reported.

Brittany Reed, a federal prosecutor, had sought up to 30 days in jail for Peart, while noting that he had turned himself in two weeks after the riot and had been “very cooperative,” KSL.com reported.

“However, Reed noted that Peart told investigators he witnessed police being assaulted by others as he made his way inside the U.S. Capitol. While inside, he was loudly chanting, "Our house" with others, Reed said.

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“She also pointed Monday to a statement Peart made to FBI agents regarding Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, which was included in prosecutors' sentencing memorandum filed last month that pushed for Peart to receive a jail term.

"’I don't know what would have happened if I had seen Mitt Romney, ’Peart said to FBI agents, according to the memorandum. "It's probably a good thing that I didn't see him, because I would have been, who knows, I was definitely, um, ya know, there. I've never had that much adrenaline run through my body ever, um, so I don't know ..."

Peart, who had wrapped himself in a Trump flag at the riot, told the judge he’s a candidate for the Washington County School District’s Board of Education and wanted to take accountability for his actions, KSL reported.

“Peart said he voted for then-President Donald Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, and he was "concerned about election integrity." By walking to the U.S. Capitol, Peart said he believed he was carrying an order from the president.”

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But in court today, “Peart said his actions caused significant issues to the country and individuals. He said that if he could go back, he wouldn't have been involved,” the report said.

Peart was described by another local TV station last year as “a well-known real estate agent in Washington County and father of five. For nearly four years, Peart served on the Toquerville Planning Commission beginning in 2015. Meeting minutes show he would occasionally lead commissioners in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.”

Peart’s case drew attention last year when he was granted permission -- without prosecution objection -- to take an 8-day September trip with his wife to Cancun.

You can read the FBI statement of facts here.