SALT LAKE CITY — A Sandy man who stole a U.S. flag during the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021 has been sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation.
It was close to the sentence Jacob K. Wiedrich, 24, requested. Federal prosecutors argued the judge should sentence Wiedrich to three months in prison or jail.
“Mr. Wiedrich, I think you need to look upon this as a chance,” Judge Thomas F. Hogan told Wiedrich, as the sentencing hearing ended.
“I understand,” Wiedrich replied. “Thank you, Your Honor. Trust me, I will. I plan on running with this momentum I have right now. I appreciate you not locking me up.”
Wiedrich was the first Utahn to be convicted of a crime related to the insurrection, and on Wednesday he became the first to be sentenced. Last year, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of demonstrating, picketing or parading at the Capitol.
Court documents say Wiedrich flew to Washington the day before the “Stop the Steal” rally. After the protest became an insurrection to prevent the certification of the Electoral College vote, Wiedrich joined others in entering the Senate wing of the building.
He was not accused of violence, but took a large American flag with decorative gold tassels, court records say. The FBI tracked him down through videos posted to social media that included him saying:
- “We’re not giving up!”
- “This is America!”
- “We’re not done!”
- “U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
- “Been tear gassed, been shot with rubber bullets, the whole f***ing nine. Got in my eye right now. God damn it. This is America. This is our chance for freedom.”
- “This is our house!”
- “Charge the mother f***er!”
- “F*** these guys!”
Wiedrich agreed to speak to the FBI on Jan. 16, 2021. A prosecutor Wednesday maintained Wiedrich lied to the agents about not meeting resistance as he and others entered the Capitol.
Then in July, the FBI executed a search warrant and found the flag in a chest in Wiedrich’s bedroom. He was charged with crimes days later.
Shortly after, Wiedrich wrote an apology letter to Capitol police.
Wiedrich on Wednesday said of his actions at the Capitol: “It will be a stain on my life.”
Hogan presided over the virtual hearing from a courthouse in Washington. He voiced concern aloud that the U.S. Department of Justice was going to light on Capitol rioters, but also noted the law gave him a choice between sentencing Wiedrich to incarceration or probation; not both. The misdemeanor carries up to six months incarceration.
The judge said he thought it best to allow Wiedrich to continue the trade school he is attending and to keep him supervised through the 2024 elections.
“I think you were a young man – easily misled,” Hogan said.
Wiedrich told the judge he was still “passionate” about politics, but now wanted to participate in the “the right way.” He mentioned focusing on local politics and attending school board meetings.