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First of Utah’s Capitol riot suspects expected to plead guilty

Posted at 5:26 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 19:26:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A 23-year-old man from Sandy is expected to plead guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

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An Oct. 14 plea agreement hearing has been scheduled for Jacob K. Wiedrich. Prosecutors this week dismissed three counts against him. A lone misdemeanor of parading or picketing in the Capitol remains.

Jacob Kyle Wiedrich.JPG

It’s the same charge a handful of other Jan. 6 defendants have plead guilty to or are scheduled to plead guilty to.

“Several have been sentenced to six months” in prison, said Jon Lewis, a research fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. “Several have faced home confinement of a month or two.”

Wiedrich is not accused of assaulting anyone or causing property damage on Jan. 6. Lewis said there’s no indications he has ties to any of the extremist groups who had a presence at the Capitol riot.

Jacob Kyle Wiedrich (2).JPG

Wiedrich told FBI agents he flew to Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 6 rally. When it turned into an insurrection, according to court documents, Wiedrich was in the mob that pushed past the barricades.

Still images from surveillance cameras were included in court documents. They show Wiedrich inside the Capitol.

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An FBI agent wrote that Wiedrich posted video from the insurrection on social media, saying “We made a statement that we won’t put up with this fraud – the election of 2020.”

About 620 people have so far been charged with crimes related to the riot. For the few that have been sentenced, Lewis said, federal judges have had to assess the risk the defendants pose.

“In many of these cases,” Lewis said, “we actually saw judges come to the conclusion that absent some significant underlying factors or previous criminal conduct or a history of violence or something like that, in many of these instances, simply an individual being at the Capitol was not enough to say they are a danger to the community going forward.”

Wiedrich has been free pending trial. He did not respond to requests for comment.

He will be the first Utah resident to plead guilty to crimes related to the riot. Six others are charged.

Of those, four face counts and allegations similar to what Wiedrich has – suspected of going where they should not have gone but not assaulting or looting.