West Virginia man pleads guilty to throwing weighted ball, kicking doors at Capitol

A West Virginia man accused of repeatedly kicking U.S. Capitol doors and throwing a hard object over and over in an attempt to gain entry on Jan. 6, 2021, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of civil disorder.

Johnny Gordon

The charge means prosecutors are accusing John Gordon of Davis of attempting to interfere with a law enforcement officer or interfering with the performance of a federal function. That felony charge comes with a possible fine and up to five years imprisonment.

During a plea hearing on Friday afternoon, federal prosecutor Andrew Tessman said that Gordon joined the crowd surging toward the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.

“Mr. Gordon observed that the building was closed to the public and that law enforcement officers were actively attempting to keep people out of the building and off the Capitol grounds,” Tessman said.

Gordon ascended the west terrace and then went on to the north side of the Capitol, approaching the closed north door. “At some time, approximately 4 p.m. the outer doors to the north door system were being held open by rioters and protesters,” Tessman said, “and law enforcement were standing behind a set of inner doors, attempting to keep people out of the building.”

Gordon approached the north doors “and started yelling obscenities at law enforcement officers who were standing behind the inner doors,” Tessman said. “Mr. Gordon then picked up a projectile and began throwing it at the inner doors. On video, a loud thud could be heard as the projectile was impacting the inner doors, which officers were standing behind.”

The surrounding crowd cheered Gordon, Tessman said, and encouraged him to keep attempting to damage the doors. “Mr. Gordon threw that heavy projectile at least four times and continued to yell obscenities at the law enforcement officers who were standing behind the inner doors.”

About 4:10 p.m., the federal prosecutor said, Gordon started charging the inner doors “and kicking them with enough force to damage them and cause the doors to briefly open.”

Shortly after that, as chemical irritants filled the air, another protester handed Gordon a pair of goggles and he started walking away. About 4:30 p.m., officers cleared the area.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras of the District of Columbia asked Gordon, who was appearing by video conference, if he would make any changes to what prosecutors alleged.

“No sir, sounds right,” Gordon told the judge.

The judge reiterated, “Is that factual summary true and correct?”

“Yes, sir,” Gordon replied.

“Did you in fact do what the government has stated that it can prove in trial?”

“Yes, sir,” Gordon said.

With Gordon’s agreement to plead guilty to the felony disorder charge, five additional misdemeanors related to his activities at the U.S. Capitol will be dismissed.

Gordon was arrested earlier this year after being identified through photographs of U.S. Capitol riot participants on Federal Bureau of Investigations website.

A criminal search history showed that Gordon had several prior felony convictions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for drug and firearms offenses, according to a statement of facts filed by federal authorities.

At today’s plea hearing, Gordon told the judge that he had trouble in the past with drug and alcohol addiction but that he has been working toward recovery.

“Most of my life I was addicted to narcotics and alcohol,” he said. “I’m a recovery coach now, though. Like, that’s all part of my past. A few years ago, I turned my life around and changed all those things about me.”

A sentencing hearing for Gordon was set for 10 a.m. March 13. Gordon will remain out of jail on bond until then.

Hundreds of people face charges from the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

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 more West Virginians were charged in that day’s events.

They include George Tanios, a Morgantown sandwich shop operator who was accused in the assault of three Capitol police officers with pepperspray; former state Delegate Derrick Evans of Wayne County, who resigned after being charged; former Parkersburg councilman Eric Barber; 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; and college senior Gracyn Courtright of Hurricane.

Tanios, Evans, Barber, Finley, Ferguson and Courtright all have pleaded guilty.

Tanios has a sentencing hearing set for 11 a.m. Dec. 6 on charges of entering and remaining restricted grounds and disorderly conduct on restricted grounds.

Evans was released last weekend from low-security prison in Michigan “after three months of being held captive as a political prisoner by the illegitimate Biden regime.”

“Anyone who thought this experience would break me or silence me has set themselves up for disappointment,” Evans said in a social media post. 

Barber is listed as an inmate at a low-security prison in Ashland, Ky., with a release date of Nov. 29.

Finley’s sentencing hearing has been delayed and will be reassessed by early this coming month.

Ferguson’s sentencing hearing is set for 3 p.m. Nov. 18  before Judge Amit P. Mehta of the District of Columbia.

Courtright was released from a month in prison on March 29. She also performed 60 hours of community service.

At the conclusion of today’s hearing, Judge Contreras told Gordon he would see him in a few months.

“Thank you Mr. Gordon. I’ll see you in March,” the judge said.

Gordon responded, “OK, sir.”





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