Sacramento man pleads guilty to January 6 coup d'etat participation charges

Photo from U.S. Dept. of Justice. | 

A Sacramento man pleaded guilty this week to charges brought against him for his participation in the Donald Trump-inspired  January 6, 2021, coup d'etat attempt in Washington, D.C. 

Jorge Riley, 45, of Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty on Tuesday, March 7, in the District of Columbia to obstruction of an official proceeding, a felony. U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta scheduled a sentencing hearing for September 6, 2023.

Evidence gathered against Mr. Riley showed he attended the January  6 “Stop the Steal” rally taking place in Washington, D.C. On December 31, 2020, the defendant purchased a “6 Ninja Tactical Combat Hunting Kunai Throwing Knife Set” and later posted on Facebook, “I just bought new kanai throwing knives and am going to do what my president asks” and “I’m going for the war.”  

Following that, Riley posted on Facebook, “Do you really not get what is going to happen on the 6th?  I absolutely am looking forward to that and NO MATTER WHAT THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN STOP IT!!!!” On January 6, 2021, the defendant marched with others to the Capitol building and posted on Facebook a video of him and others with the Capitol building in the foreground and added, “There’s 100’s of thousands of people marching on the Nation’s Capitol!!!” and “Hey we’re storming the Capitol…what are you doing?”

Once he and other insurrectionists entered the Capitol, Riley was in the mob that pushed past law enforcement officers and through hallways, outside Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s Office, balconies, Statuary Hall, and the Rotunda. At approximately 3:22 PM, the defendant exited the Capitol building through the East Rotunda lobby. 

After exiting the Capitol building, the defendant stood on the east Capitol steps and stated in a recorded video, “It was mostly a peaceful, physical takeover of the Capitol … We stopped the steal because they were in there and they weren’t going to stop the steal, so we stopped the steal, we took our country back.”

Later that day Riley posted on Facebook, “What do you do after you just got done taking your National Capitol back?” The defendant later posted, “I can sleep on the plane I guess . . . or in jail when I land?!?” 

Riley could be sentenced to up to 20 years. However, most defendants in the attempted coup d'etat received less severe sentences. 


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