Jan 6 rioter held in criminal contempt after saying he was ‘very comfy’ in senator’s chair during insurrection

‘It’s the people’s house,’ Brandon Fellows told the court. ‘We had the right to overthrow it’

Kelly Rissman
Wednesday 30 August 2023 16:43 BST
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A January 6 rioter told a judge that he “felt very comfy” sitting in a senator’s seat during the Capitol insurrection – before he was later held in criminal contempt of court and sentenced to five months in prison.

Brandon Fellows has been charged with entering a restricted building or grounds and violent entry or disorderly conduct over his part in the January 6 2021 riot.

As his trial drew to a close on Tuesday, Mr Fellows took the stand and was asked by the judge about the moment he plopped himself at the desk seat of Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley.

“I didn’t know it was a senator’s desk. It felt very comfy,” Mr Fellows reportedly told US District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Donald Trump appointee.

“We had to take the election back. It was stolen,” he added.

Mr Fellows is also accused of smoking marijuana inside the senator’s hideaway office.

The rioter recounted his thought process back on that day, saying he believed he was fighting “the corrupt government” before clarifying that he didn’t participate in any violence.

“It’s the people’s house,” Mr Fellows told the court. “We had the right to overthrow it.”

According to NBC News, Judge McFadden told Mr Fellows that he believed he had given up his right to a rebuttal because he had dodged answering yes-or-no questions during the government’s cross-examination.

“I would expect nothing less from a kangaroo court,” Mr Fellows responded.

Brandon Fellows, a January 6 rioter, pictured sitting in a Democratic senator’s chair during the Capitol attack
Brandon Fellows, a January 6 rioter, pictured sitting in a Democratic senator’s chair during the Capitol attack (US District Court for the District of Columbia / Affidavit)

Judge McFadden then found Mr Fellows in criminal contempt of court, sentencing him to “five months incarceration” with jury deliberations in his trial beginning on 30 August.

According to the affidavit, Mr Fellows told a reporter in the aftermath of the Capitol riot: “Yeah we went in there and then I walked in and there’s just a whole bunch of people lighting up in some Oregon room...they were smoking a bunch of weed in there.”

Mr Fellows also said that the “cops are very cool, they were like hey guys have a goodnight, some of them, which is crazy, it’s really weird, you can see that some of them were on our side.”

The affidavit also stated that on 12 January 2021, a witness provided screenshots from Mr Fellows’ Facebook account, showing that Mr Fellows wrote under his profile picture: “We took the Capitol and it was glorious.”

Mr Fellows’ incarceration comes as the sentencing hearings for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and prominent member Ethan Nordean over their roles in the Capitol riot were abruptly postponed on Wednesday.

The sudden change of schedule came minutes before the sentencing was due to start. US District Judge Tim Kelly, who presided over the nearly four-month trial, appeared to be out sick.

Tarrio’s sentencing is now scheduled for 2pm on 5 September, while Nordean will be sentenced at 2pm on 1 September.

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