Former West Virginia politician Derrick Evans has portrayed himself as a victim of a politically motivated prosecution as he runs to serve in the same building he stormed on January 6, 2021.
Appearing before a federal judge after pleading guilty to a felony charge in the deadly Capitol riot, Evans has expressed remorse for letting down his family and his community, saying he made a “crucial mistake".
Less than a year later, Evans is now calling the Justice Department's January 6 prosecutions a “miscarriage of justice" and describes himself on Twitter as a “J6 Patriot".
"Some ppl have said I need to apologize and condemn #J6 if I want to win my election as the media will attack me," he tweeted recently after announcing his bid for a US House seat in 2024.
Evans joins a series of January 6 defendants who - when up against possible prison time in court - have expressed regret for joining the pro-Trump mob that rattled the foundations of American democracy only to strike a different tone or downplay the riot after receiving their punishment.
The very first January 6 defendant to be sentenced apologised in court and then went on Fox News Channel shortly after and seemed to minimise the riot.
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'How could I not regret?'
Evans had said he regrets his actions every day and told Senior Judge Royce Lamberth he is a “good person who unfortunately was caught up in a moment".
Shortly after, prosecutors wrote to the judge about several statements Evans made on a radio show that were “inconsistent with the contrition” he showed at sentencing.
When asked whether he regretted his actions, Evans said on the show that he regretted the “situation” he was in.
But he said he was “never going to have regrets when it comes to standing up and doing what’s right".
Evans said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press that he still stands behind what he said in court.
He said he lost “almost everything” -including his job as a state delegate and time with his kids- because of his decision on January 6.
“How could I not regret that?” he asked. But he said he is “done being portrayed as a villain” when he is not, noting that he didn't overrun any officers and was inside the Capitol for only 10 minutes.
When determining an appropriate sentence, judges generally take into account whether defendants have taken responsibility for their actions and appear genuinely sorry.
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