Judge Disagrees With Rioter About Who the Patriots Were

Nicholas Languerand attacked police at Capitol
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 26, 2022 6:27 PM CST
Saying He's No Patriot, Judge Gives QAnon Rioter Prison
The Statement of Facts supporting the arrest warrant for Nicholas Languerand is shown Wednesday in Frederick, Md.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

A man who identified himself as a believer in the QAnon conspiracy theory was sentenced on Wednesday to three years, eight months in prison for assaulting police officers at the Capitol during last year's riot. Nicholas Languerand called himself a patriot, but the judge who sentenced him said the rioters who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, don't deserve that description. "The patriots were the police officers who were defending the Capitol building and our democratic values," US District Judge John Bates said before handing down one of the longest prison sentences for a Capitol rioter so far, the AP reports.

Languerand, 26, also told the judge that he was a QAnon follower. The conspiracy theory centers on the baseless belief that former President Donald Trump was waging a secret fight against a Satan-worshipping, child-sacrificing cabal of "deep state" foes, prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites. Another core belief is that Trump would orchestrate mass arrests, military tribunals, and executions of his enemies. QAnon has been linked to a string of violent crimes. The FBI has warned that conspiracy theory-driven extremists have become a domestic terrorism threat. "It was never meant to be something violent," said Languerand, who pleaded guilty to a felony assault charge in November.

Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of four years, three months in prison. Languerand repeatedly assaulted police at the Capitol, throwing wood and an audio speaker at officers, and later bragged about his actions on social media, said Assistant US Attorney Robert Juman. "The defendant was not caught up in the violence. He sought it out," Juman said. After losing his job in fall 2020, Languerand was living in Vermont in a trailer with no vehicle or television. He began spending all of his time consuming information on the internet about QAnon and the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, his lawyer said. Languerand is the fourth rioter to be sentenced for assaulting police. The other three received prison sentences ranging from 41 months to 63 months.

(Read more Capitol riot stories.)

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