Capitol rioter's mom blames Trump for violence: 'He was used along with many others'
Department of Justice

The mother of a U.S. Capitol rioter asked for leniency in his sentencing by arguing that he had been duped by Donald Trump.

Troy Sargent, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer during the Jan. 6 insurrection, and prosecutors are recommending a 27-month prison term. But his mother asked the judge to go easy on her son.

"Troy now sees that his beliefs about Trump were offbase and that while he supported Trump, Trump did not support him at all," his mother said in a court filing. "He was used along with many, many others to create energy and momentum for a political cause that had no merit."

She told the judge that her son had been radicalized online, and as his mistrust in mainstream beliefs grew he was drawn closer to conservative media outlets and misinformation sites. She added that her son bombarded friends and family with conspiracy theories and set up a "Pittsfield 411" Facebook page to "educate" followers about his views.

"He would send me numerous videos and ask me to watch," she said in the filing. "This constant attempt to bring these messages to me and the general public were certainly annoying. I hate to admit it, but inviting Troy to family events was fraught with worrying about how passionate he will be with his latest belief."

She said all that changed after Jan. 6, 2021, and he expressed remorse for attending the demonstration that turned deadly, and he had "dropped his macho façade," but prosecutors disputed that in their sentencing memo.

"The defendant was cautioned 'Do not start attacking people,'" prosecutors wrote in their filing. "Immediately after that, the defendant tried to strike the same victim officer, again, with his open hand. And, the defendant understood both strikes as an attempt to inflict injury upon another, saying that he 'punched [the officer] as hard as I could [right] in his [visor]' and 'I got two hits in on the same rookie cop and then he maced me.' Thus, Sargent committed a 'felonious assault.'"

Body camera footage showed Sargent attacking police, and his social media acquaintances tipped off federal investigators.