Colorado man with right-wing militia ties pleads guilty to January 6 charges

· Mar. 6, 2023, 6:52 pm
Capitol Breach Civil WarCapitol Breach Civil WarEvan Vucci/AP Photo
In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, supporters listen as President Donald Trump speaks as a Confederate-themed and other flags flutter in the wind during a rally in Washington. War-like imagery has begun to take hold in mainstream Republican political circles in the wake of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol, with some elected officials and party leaders rejecting calls to tone down their rhetoric contemplating a second civil war.

A Woodland Park man, who law enforcement says has ties to a right-wing militia, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to assaulting officers during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

As part of a plea deal, Robert Gieswein, 26, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers. Gieswein used some sort of irritant spray against Capitol Police as they attempted to keep rioters from storming the building, and again sprayed officers once he’d entered the Capitol through a broken window. 

Gieswein also admitted in the plea document to throwing a water bottle at Capitol Police and pushing against lines of officers trying to keep the crowd from breaching the building. 

Gieswein was arrested less than two weeks after the attack and was kept in jail through his sentencing. 

Investigators say Gieswein belonged to the far-right Three Percenter militia, based on his social media posts, and organized a paramilitary group near his home in Woodland Park.

Teller County Sheriff
The booking photo of Robert Gieswein, Jan. 18, 2021.

According to court documents, Gieswein showed up on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C. dressed in a camouflage paramilitary kit — including a helmet and tactical vest — and carrying a baseball bat.

His outfit also included a patch for the “Woodland Wild Dogs,” the private paramilitary group Gieswein allegedly operated before his arrest. While walking through the city he ran into members of the Proud Boys, who invited him to march with them for three hours before the attack on the capitol. 

The Department of Justice says that at some point in the day “one of the Proud Boys members gave Gieswein a piece of orange duct tape to place on his helmet, for the purpose of identifying him as a friendly.”

Gieswein was also recorded at the Capitol Plaza saying he “would die for this.” When asked what he thought the solution was, he said to “execute these fascists.”

Gieswein was part of a group who forced their way up the stairs below the Inauguration Day scaffolding and was one of the first rioters to reach and enter the building through a broken window in the Senate Wing. 

Officers attempted to arrest Gieswein after he sprayed and injured a Capitol Police officer attempting to arrest another rioter. According to the DOJ, “a scuffle ensued,” Gieswein attempted to punch an officer and escaped. He then joined a group of protesters attempting to make their way down a hall that led to then-Speaker of the House Nancy Polosi’s office. Police rebuffed them and Gieswein exited the capitol. 

According to the DOJ, each assault charge carries a maximum of eight years in prison. Gieswein’s sentencing is scheduled for June 9.

So far, at least a dozen Coloradans have been arrested for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 attack. Nine of them have accepted plea deals so far. Sentences in other cases have ranged from probation to two and a half years in federal prison.

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