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Man insults judge who sentenced him to 12 years in prison for attacking police during Capitol riot

Updated on: 25 May,2024 01:19 PM IST  |  Washington
mid-day online correspondent |

Quaglin assaulted other officers with stolen police shields, metal bike racks and pepper spray as he clashed with police for roughly three hours

Man insults judge who sentenced him to 12 years in prison for attacking police during Capitol riot

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Man insults judge who sentenced him to 12 years in prison for attacking police during Capitol riot

A judge who referred to the New Jersey electrician as "a menace to our society" sentenced him to 12 years in jail for his numerous attacks on police officers during the US Capitol siege on January 6, 2021. Before and after receiving one of the heaviest jail sentences out of hundreds of instances involving Capitol riots, Christopher Joseph Quaglin argued and disrespected US District Judge Trevor McFadden.

Quaglin told McFadden, who was appointed to the court by then-President Trump in 2017, that she was "Trump's worst mistake of 2016." Quaglin, 38, became part of the Trump fan base that overran the Capitol. When he choked and tackled a policeman to the ground, he hurt him. Quaglin fought with police for around three hours, attacking other cops with pepper spray, metal bike racks, and pilfered police shields.

'What an outrage. What a disgrace,' the judge said. Quaglin complained about his jail conditions and pushed conspiracy theories about the January 6 siege during his rambling remarks in the courtroom. He also took issue with labelling the January 6 attack as an insurrection. 'If I wanted to bring an insurrection, I would have brought a long gun,' he said.

Before the sentence, Quaglin was told that his confrontational words were a "really bad idea" by the judge, who interrupted him after a few minutes. Quaglin answered, "It's a kangaroo court." The judge was persuaded by the prosecution to sentence Quaglin to 14 years in jail. They claimed he was among the most violent rioters on January 6, when a group of people supporting Donald Trump interrupted a joint meeting of Congress to officially recognise President Joe Biden's win in the 2020 election.

The judge convicted Quaglin of six separate assaults on police. Prosecutors say he struck or pushed another dozen officers. 'Quaglin understood the constitutional significance of January 6, and intended to disrupt Congress' certification of the 2020 election by any means necessary, including by viciously assaulting police officers for hours,' prosecutors wrote.

About 1,400 persons have been accused of federal offences connected to the Capitol riots. Approximately two-thirds of the nearly 900 individuals who have been sentenced have been given prison terms varying from a few days to 22 years. An Associated Press investigation of court records shows that Quaglin is the only defendant in the Capitol riot case to have received a longer prison sentence than seven other defendants.

McFadden convicted Quaglin of 14 counts last July after a 'stipulated bench trial,' which means the judge decided the case without a jury and based on facts that both sides agreed to before the trial. Such trials allow defendants to maintain appeal rights that are waived by a guilty plea.

On January 6, Quaglin travelled from his North Brunswick, New Jersey, home to the White House to attend then-President Donald Trump's 'Stop the Steal' event. Quaglin left the event early and filmed himself marching to the Capitol while donning a backpack, a gas mask and a helmet.

Quaglin attacked police officers attempting to contain the crowd after breaking through barricades close to Peace Circle. Quaglin took Capitol Police Sgt. Troy Robinson by the neck and threw him to the ground, injuring him. Prosecutors stated that Quaglin's attack started a brief altercation. Chaos broke out as more rioters joined Quaglin in his support while he was on top of Sergeant Robinson.

Quaglin 'waged a relentless siege' as he joined other rioters in attacking police in a tunnel on the Capitol's Lower West Terrace, prosecutors said. He helped another rioter steal a shield from an officer. He pepper sprayed several officers in the face. And he joined the mob's collective 'heave-ho' push against a police line.

Prosecutors claimed that Quaglin collaborated with other rioters to guarantee that officers were always under attack, taking part in some of the most horrific attacks in the tunnel. Later, Quaglin boasted about his involvement in the riot and celebrated. "I had a terrific time. I received bruises and bumps. He said, "And we're having a good time," in a video that was shared on social media.

According to Quaglin's defence lawyer Kristi Fulnecky, Quaglin hasn't gotten proper medical care during his three years in jail. Fulnecky added that Quaglin was forced to accept a stipulated bench trial rather than a disputed trial by one of his previous solicitors. Quaglin was informed by McFadden that his behaviour on January 6 was 'shocking and lawless.' The judge stated, 'January 6th is not just an unusual day for you. You've let it define who you are.

(With Inputs from AP)

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