WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Summerville handyman who gleefully exclaimed “the policemen have been overwhelmed” as he stormed the U.S. Capitol making on Jan. 6, 2021, will shell out 21 times in jail for his part in the historic riot.
U.S. Decide Beryl Howell also sentenced Chad Clifton, 47, to 90 days of residence arrest, three a long time of probation and $1,100 in fines and restitution right after a listening to Jan. 13 in Washington.
Clifton’s punishment will come two several years immediately after he joined a protest above supposed 2020 election fraud that devolved into a violent march towards the halls of Congress.
The sentence matches the punishment prosecutors from the U.S. Section of Justice suggested for Clifton. It is also just about identical to the sentence Judge Howell handed Clifton’s neighbor and co-defendant, suspended Summerville legal professional David Johnston.
Clifton himself did not attack law enforcement or vandalize the building’s sacrosanct halls, prosecutors acknowledged in court docket filings. But the Charleston native — putting on a pink Trump 2020 hat — was among the the front strains of the mob and was one particular of the first to enter the Capitol that day.
Clifton savored himself all through the incident, charging files point out. He took a strike from a marijuana joint the moment inside of the building. And he watched and reveled as other rioters clashed with law enforcement, recording and narrating video clips as the mayhem unfolded.
“I just stormed the (expletive) Capitol” he shouted in one particular of the films, prosecutors wrote.
Clifton’s defense legal professional, Charleston lawyer Nathan Williams, said home arrest and probation by itself would be more appropriate than prison for the self-used building contractor.
Clifton promptly acknowledged his guilt and cooperated with investigators, and his spouse and 6 young children count intensely on him for cash flow, Williams claimed.
“He wanted to consider accountability,” the legal professional included.
In the course of the listening to, Clifton apologized to the judge and his family members for his part in the rebellion. He explained he experienced moved on from the beliefs and conspiracies that led him to Washington that day.
Clifton gets the 10th South Carolinian to be sentenced in relationship with the Jan. 6 uprising. One particular other — suspended Citadel cadet Elias Irizarry — has pleaded responsible and awaits sentencing in March. Criminal prices keep on being pending in opposition to 8 other people.
Court information and social media profiles display Clifton and South Carolina’s 18 other Capitol defendants have been fierce supporters of then-President Donald Trump who trekked to D.C., to show up at the Florida Republican’s “Stop the Steal” rally.
There, Trump and other speakers touted unfounded and since-disproven promises that Democrats experienced stolen the 2020 presidential election with common voter fraud in key battleground states.
Thousands then marched from the rally to the Capitol. They overpowered the compact law enforcement drive guarding it and swept into the developing, prompting associates of Congress to flee. Rioters battered law enforcement with fists, flagpoles and makeshift golf equipment, injuring more than 100 officers.
They smashed windows, broke doorways and ransacked congressional places of work, causing additional than $2.8 million in problems.
Clifton’s attorney claimed his customer only lately grew to become intrigued in politics and was swept up in the furor surrounding Trump’s defeat in the November 2020 presidential election.
Clifton turned engrossed in election fraud conspiracy theories he uncovered on social media, together with TikTok, even as his wife warned him not to imagine all the things he browse on line, prosecutors wrote in court filings.
Investigators alleged Clifton showed no remorse in the weeks immediately after the riot. Instead, he continued to deliver incendiary social media posts and messages, court filings condition.
In publish-Jan. 6 texts to his co-defendant, Johnson, Clifton threatened a “day of reckoning.”
“We are jogging out of time and it is time to choose motion in the fullest drive essential to entire this mission,” Clifton wrote.
Williams, Clifton’s legal professional, stressed in court filings that his shopper has behaved honorably because his arrest and justifies leniency.
“Since his arrest, Chad has carried out anything he can to atone for his actions on January 6 and hopes this court will see this as a reflection of who he is and how his steps on January 6 were an aberration,” Williams wrote.
Federal probation officials will determine where by Clifton spends his jail time. One particular solution is the Charleston County detention middle.