WASHINGTON — A Donald Trump supporter who tasered the neck of a DC police officer who was kidnapped by the mob during the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol has been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison. prison on Wednesday.
Daniel “DJ” Rodriguez, a California man who traveled to DC with other Trump supporters who belonged to a Telegram group called the “PATRIOTS 45 MAGA Gang,” pleaded guilty in February to felony conspiracy, obstruction of official proceeding , tampering with documents or court proceedings, and inflicting bodily injury on officers using a deadly or dangerous weapon.
“There will be blood,” Rodriguez wrote in the “MAGA Gang” Telegram chat on the night of January 5, just hours before he was due to attend Trump’s rally on the White House Ellipse. “Welcome to the revolution.”
On January 6, after joining the fight in the lower west tunnel of the Capitol, where some of the most violent scenes of the day took place, Rodriguez attacked Officer Michael Fanone and later bragged about his actions in the Telegram chat.
“OMG I did so many f—ing s— [right now] and he escaped”, Rodríguez wrote to fellow Patriots 45 MAGA gang. “Tazed the f— out of the blue.”
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed Rodriguez’s sentence Wednesday, saying he was a “one-man army of hate, attacking police officers and destroying property” on Jan. 6.
Fanone, speaking during Rodriguez’s sentencing hearing, called Rodriguez’s life story “pathetic” and said he lost his career, his friends and his faith in the criminal justice system because of what happened that day.
“I don’t give a shit about Daniel Rodriguez. He ceased to exist for me as a person a long time ago,” Fanone said Wednesday. “Any compassion or empathy I felt for those who besieged our Capitol, whose actions I felt were influenced at least in part by their leader Donald Trump and his lies, has been eroded, eroded by the attacks directed at me and my family by supporters. of Donald Trump and the right-wing media”.
Fanone, citing special counsel Jack Smith’s ongoing investigation into Trump’s actions leading up to January 6, called on the Justice Department to file an indictment against Trump and anyone else responsible “regardless of their wealth or political position.” current”, and prove the mantra that No one is above the law.
“Your honor, we must all join the fight against Donald Trump and the destructive and divisive movement he has come to represent,” Fanone said. “We must not offer him a safe haven, and to his facilitators, whether in business, in politics and in the media, give them no quarter. In the fight to preserve our Republic, there can be no bystanders.
Before his sentencing, Rodríguez spoke for about 20 minutes in a rambling speech, saying he “really” thought a civil war was going to start and that he believed the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers were formed because police were retreating across the country. . He acknowledged his actions against Fanone, but did not apologize.
Federal prosecutors wanted Rodríguez to spend 14 years in federal prison, an upward deviation from their sentencing guidelines, which suggested a sentence of roughly eight to 10 years, saying Rodríguez committed an act of terrorism. Rodríguez’s “egregious” conduct “showed a clear intent to prevent Congress from certifying the election results” and “was calculated to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power for the first time in the nation’s history,” prosecutors said. . argumentcalling Rodríguez’s efforts “a quintessential example of an attempt to influence government conduct through intimidation or coercion.”
Rodriguez’s federal public defenders said Trump’s “inflammatory lies” about the election “created a frenzy of anger and uncertainty” and that Rodriguez’s “unwavering belief in the former president’s words caused him to lose all sense of right and wrong.” evil”. Rodriguez “deeply respected and idolized Trump,” whom he viewed “as the father he wanted,” they said. wrotesaying that Rodriguez “believed that Trump was someone to be admired: a billionaire who graduated from the Wharton Business School, with his name massively displayed in gold on buildings across the United States.”
Forrest Rogers, an American living in Germany on January 6, first discovered evidence that Rodriguez electrocuted Fanone after he dumped frame-by-frame footage online as part of his work for “Deep State Dogs,” one of the groups from online “sedition hunterswho appeared in the aftermath of Jan. 6 to identify Capitol Hill protesters. After Rogers tweeted footage of the incident, Rodriguez was identified by activists who knew the man in the MAGA hat from the scene of the protest in Beverly Hills.
Rodriguez was then identified in a February 2021 HuffPost story, and was arrested by the FBI the following month. In an interview with the FBI after his arrest, Rodriguez called himself a “fucking piece of shit” and said he “wasn’t smart.” Rodriguez said he was influenced by the far-right conspiracy theory website InfoWars, as well as conservative commentators including Steven Crowder, Mark Dice and the “Hodgetwins” brother duo. Rodriguez, who believed Trump’s lies about the 2020 presidential election, told the FBI that Trump had “called us” to DC on January 6, and that he felt a duty to respond to the commanding officer.
“Are we all so stupid that we thought we were going to do this and save the country and everything would be fine afterward?” Rodriguez said during his interview with the FBI. “We really think so. That’s so stupid, huh?
More than 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol and nearly 600 have pleaded guilty. Of the approximately 524 defendants who have been convicted, according According to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, about 310 have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from a few days to nearly two decades in prison. Sentencing continues almost daily: DC chiropractor David Walls-Kaufman was sentenced to 60 days in prison after admitting he “fought” with officers inside the Capitol on January 6, including an officer who killed himself nine days after.
The longest sentence for a defendant from January 6 to date (18 years in federal prison) went to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in November 2022. Federal prosecutors had sought a sentence of 25 years in federal prison in that case.
Two other defendants from the January 6 assault on Fanone have received significant sentences. Kyle Young, a January 6 rioter who was accompanied by his teenage son when he handed Rodriguez the taser used to attack Fanone, whom Young grabbed during the attack, was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison. in September. Albuquerque Head – A rioter from January 6 who yelled “I’ve got one!” when he grabbed Fanone and dragged him into the mob, he was sentenced to 7.5 years in federal prison in October.
In addition to his violence against Fanone, Rodriguez entered an office space inside the US Capitol through a broken window and urged the crowd to keep going. Using a pole, Rodriguez broke a window in the private office “hideout” of Senator Jim Risch, R-Idaho. Months after his arrest, Rodríguez was charged along with two co-defendants: Ed Badalian, who was convicted on three counts in April; and a man known to online detectives as #SwedishScarf, who has been identified by the FBI but is believed by prosecutors to have fled the country.