Prosecutors object to post-sentencing media comments by Jan. 6 defendant Derrick Evans

Federal prosecutors are taking exception to comments former Delegate Derrick Evans made on a West Virginia radio show right after being dealt a three-month prison sentence for his behavior at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Derrick Evans

U.S. attorneys filed a notice of defendant’s post-sentencing comments this week, citing a 24-minute appearance on “The Tom Roten Morning Show” in the Huntington area. The prosecutors say comments Evans made in that radio appearance are inconsistent with his own video lasting more than an hour that was presented as evidence at the prior day’s sentencing.

“While Evans’ sentence has already been imposed and the government is not seeking its modification, the speed and degree of Evans’s about-face warrants this notice, for the record and for the court’s edification,” prosecutors wrote.

Evans, who was elected to West Virginia’s House of Delegates before resigning a few days after joining the mob at the Capitol, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder.

He was sentenced June 22 by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who told Evans he had actually considered a longer sentence of six months. “These are cases where there has to be a penalty imposed for serious offenses. To me, this has to be considered a serious offense,” Lamberth said.

Evans told the judge that day, “I take full responsibility for my action.” He described a difficult journey in the months since Jan. 6, including death threats to his family but also the joy of seeing the birth of his fourth child.

“I will forever bear the reminder that I committed a crucial mistake,” he told the judge. “I let down myself, my community and, most importantly, my family.”

By that evening, Evans had debuted a website to take donations and accept interview requests. “His story. His truth. Derrick Evans speaks.”

“I have media requests from all over the world, but the first one is going to local radio host Tom Roten,” Evans posted the morning after his federal sentencing.

Prosecutors say many of the comments Evans made on that appearance are out of line with his words and actions from his own livestreamed video from the U.S. Capitol.

“Evans stated throughout the interview that he believed that he was allowed to be in the areas that he breached on January 6, and that he did not see any violence or destruction, despite seeing and smelling tear gas, seeing police officers trying to prevent the rioters from advancing, and laughing at a police officer running from the crowd that jammed officers against the Rotunda Doors,” the prosecutors wrote.

Among his statements on radio: “I had no intention of going up there [to the Rotunda Doors]. I never honestly thought that we was going to be inside the Capitol, never crossed my mind.”

Evans also told the radio host, “Nobody was trying to get inside [the building] at that point [when the barriers were breached]. They wanted to get to the Capitol steps, basically, make their voices heard.”

Prosecutors say those statements are contradicted by his livestream video when he expressed intent to go into the Capitol building. The prosecutors entered an hour and twenty minutes of video into evidence and played several clips as Evans was sentenced.

Before Evans entered the building, narrated into the video about others going in: “They’re in. We’re in. Everybody’s in. There’s too many for them [the police] to do anything about it. Every side, every angle.”

Again before entering the Capitol, Evans narrated into the livestream, “We are in baby. We’re going in that building in a minute. We’re in baby! Share this video.”

Hundreds of people face charges from the breach of 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.

Of the thousands of protesters in Washington, D.C., that day, about 800 went into the Capitol, police have said.

Several West Virginians were charged from their participation in that day’s events.

They include George Tanios, a Morgantown sandwich shop operator accused in the assault of three Capitol police officers with pepperspray;  Jeffery Finley of Martinsburg, the leader of West Virginia’s chapter of the Proud Boy right-wing militant group; West Virginia National Guard member Jamie Lynn Ferguson; former Parkersburg Councilman Eric Barber and college senior Gracyn Courtright of Hurricane.

Eric Barber

Barber, who was sentenced last month to 45 days in jail for demonstrating in a Capitol building, made public statements objecting to the conditions surrounding his sentencing right after it occurred.

In a statement to local television station WTAP, Barber said “If I had a judge assigned to my case that was appointed by President Trump I would have received no jail sentence, unfortunately, I had an Obama appointee and as a result, I’ll have to do 6 weeks in a minimum-security facility as a political prisoner.”

Barber had previously told that same judge, “My remorse has been sincere, and, I think, was immediate and I think that differs me from a lot of defendants.”

Prosecutors have not raised the issue of Barber’s post-sentencing comments, though.

Evans, who uses his official legislative portraits as marketing material, has continued the media appearances that began after his sentencing. Each interviewer has asked him about running for public office in the future, and he hasn’t ruled that out.

Last Sunday, he thanked “the Trump Team for our nice chat yesterday and for officially verifying my account on Truth Social,” the social networking platform launched by the former president.

At mid-week, Evans provided updates about radio and television appearances with Newsmax host Greg Kelly.

In each appearance, Evans expressed regrets over serving time but not about the choices that led him to the Capitol. “At the end of the day, I believe I’m being held captive as a political prisoner along with many other January 6th defendants,” he said on Newsmax.

On local radio, Evans said. “I regret the situation I’m in. I regret I’m gonna be away from my family. If I had to do it all over again, maybe I wouldn’t have went inside the building.

“But I’m never going to regret standing up to tyranny and standing up for the people who believe in me and standing up for the future of my children. I’m never going to have regrets when it comes to standing up and doing what’s right, at the end of the day.”

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