A new federal court filing adds charges to the case of Derrick Evans, the newly-elected West Virginia lawmaker accused of surging into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Evans, who resigned his seat in the state House of Delegates after being charged, now faces four counts: entering and remaining in a restricted building, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
All are misdemeanors.
Previously, Evans had faced just two charges: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
The two new charges were filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by federal prosecutors in an information.
An information is a formal document that describes the criminal charges against a person and the factual basis for the charges. But unlike an indictment, an information does not require a grand jury’s vote.
Federal criminal defendants may waive having their charges evaluated by a grand jury. So the information suggests that Evans and his attorneys have done that and raises the possibility that a plea bargain may be imminent.
Evans, a Wayne County resident, was among the thousands of people who rallied at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
A mob storming the U.S. Capitol that day disrupted the constitutional duty of counting Electoral College votes and prompted the evacuations of representatives, senators and Vice President Mike Pence. One woman was fatally shot while trying to climb into the chambers, three others died from “medical emergencies” and more than 100 police officers were injured.
Several West Virginians face charges from that day’s events. They include George Tanios, a Morgantown sandwich shop operator accused in the assault of three Capitol police officers with pepperspray, former Parkersburg Councilman Eric Barber, and college senior Gracyn Courtright of Hurricane.
Evans was among those who breached the Capitol. He livestreamed and then deleted videos from inside, but others took screenshots and videos of the original videos.
In one, he is shoots cell phone video out into the Capitol interior while surging through a door. He says, “We’re in! We’re in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!”
The new federal filing officially accuses him of entering the restricted U.S. Capitol without the lawful authority to do so.
Moreover, Evans is accused of “knowingly, and with intent to impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions, engaged in disorderly and disruptive conduct in and within such proximity to, the United States Capitol, a restricted building, when and so that such conduct did in fact impede and disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business and official functions.”
In statements right after Jan. 6, Evans had said he was at the Capitol to witness and document history.
“I want to assure you all that I did not have any negative interactions with law enforcement nor did I participate in any destruction that may have occurred,” he stated in a Facebook post that he described as being written on a bus traveling home that night.
In the initial video, after Evans surges through the Capitol door, he tells a police officer, “God bless you sir. Nothing personal all right. We still respect you all right. Nothing personal against you.”
Evans, who appeared to be wearing a motorcycle helmet, then shouts at those around him, “No destruction of anything. No vandalizing property. No vandalizing. This is artifacts all right. No vandalizing.”
Evans placed first in a two-member district in the most recent General Election, with 8,227 votes. He was to be a first-time officeholder in the House of Delegates.
All delegates state this oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, and faithfully discharge the duties of Senator (or Delegate) according to the best of my ability.”
Evans resigned his legislative post Jan. 9.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians,” Evans stated then
“And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God.’”