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InfoWars host Owen Shroyer received a 60-day sentence in prison on Tuesday for his role in the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6 that prosecutors claim he “helped create.”
“In the months prior to January 6, Shroyer spread election disinformation paired with violent rhetoric to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of viewers,” prosecutors wrote in court filings.
Shroyer, the 34-year-old host of “The War Room With Owen Shroyer” on Alex Jones’ media platform, never entered the federal building on that infamous day, but was still punished by prosecutors because he previously signed a deferred prosecution agreement after interrupting a House Judiciary Committee hearing for then-President Trump’s impeachment proceedings hearing in 2019.
As part of the agreement, Shroyer consented not to “utter loud, threatening, or abusive language or engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct” anywhere on the United States Capitol Grounds or within any of the Capitol Buildings.
But according to court filings, Shroyer warned in November 2020 that if Joe Biden became president, “it’s not going to be a million peaceful marchers in D.C.” Then, on January 6, the media personality took to a megaphone before leading a crowd to the Capitol.
“The Democrats are posing as communists, but we know what they really are,” Shroyer said on a bullhorn, according to court filings. “They’re just tyrants, they’re tyrants. And so today, on January 6, we declare death to tyranny! Death to tyrants!”
According to The Associated Press, Shroyer pleaded guilty in June to illegally entering a restricted area, a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of one year behind bars.
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, NBC reported that Shroyer told the court, “I was not a part of any larger plan for illegal activity or violence that day.”
“It was to get the attention and draw the crowds away,” he said, according to The Associated Press.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who just last week handed down a 22-year sentence in federal prison to Proud Boys founder Enrique Tarrio for his role in the Capitol breach, told the InfoWars host that he “amped up” the crowd on the Capitol steps.
“Context is everything,” the judge said. “I do not believe that you were trying to distract the crowd or turn the crowd away from the Capitol.”
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Shroyer to 120 days in prison, including 12 months of supervised release, 60 hours of community service, and $500 in restitution.
“Such a sentence protects the community, promotes respect for the law, and deters future crime by imposing restrictions on his liberty as a consequence of his behavior, while recognizing his acceptance of responsibility for his crime,” the prosecution wrote.
Shroyer’s defense team requested in court filings on Sunday that the judge spare him incarceration, saying the case had been “characterized by a cooperative spirit between the defense and the Government,” adding their client complied with federal inspectors to search his cell phone without a warrant.
“But when Mr. Shroyer appeared at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, he wore two hats: one was that of outraged citizen who believed that an election had been rigged, the other as full-time journalist and commentator who sought a front-row seat at an historic event,” the defense wrote.
Defense attorney Norm Pattis for Shroyer said he planned to appeal the sentence and has repeatedly accused prosecutors of infringing on his client’s First Amendment rights.
“Mr. Shroyer, and every person capable of speaking in the United States, has a right to utter the speech Mr. Shroyer used. That the Government would suggest otherwise is a frightening commentary on our times,” Pattis wrote in a court filing on Sunday.
But prosecutors argue the charges against Shroyer do not infringe on his free speech rights.
“Shroyer cannot light a fire near a can of gasoline, and then express concern or disbelief when it explodes,” they wrote.
A date was not immediately set for Shroyer to report to prison.
The Associated Press reported that Shroyer joins more than 1,100 people charged with Capitol breach-related federal crimes, of which over 650 have pleaded guilty, more than 600 were sentenced, and half received terms ranging from three days to 22 years.