A far-right internet personality pleaded guilty on Friday to joining the crowd that stormed the United States Capitolwhere he broadcast live video that incriminated him and other rioters, according to a court filing.
Anthime Gionetknown as ‘Baked Alaska’ to his social media followers, faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison after pleading guilty to one count of marching, demonstrating or picketing indoors of a Capitol building.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan is due to sentence Gionet on January 12, 2023.
The judge had scheduled a March 2023 trial for Gionet after he reluctant to plead guilty at a previous hearing. Sullivan refused to accept a guilty plea from Anthime Gionet in May after claiming his innocence at the start of what was to be a plea deal hearing.
At the start of Friday’s virtual hearing, defense attorney Zachary Thornley told the judge that a protester was outside Gionet’s Florida home and was recording proceedings over the phone, a violation of court rules.
“Protest what? asked the judge.
“I guess as a person,” Thornley replied.
The judge ordered court staff to cut the phone line, preventing the public from hearing Gionet enter his guilty plea.
Two of Gionet’s attorneys did not immediately respond to calls for comment after the hearing.
After entering the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Gionet broadcast live video showing himself inside the building and repeatedly encouraging other rioters to stay there.
” Come in. Let’s go. Come in. Make yourself at home,” Gionet told other rioters, according to a court filing accompanying his guilty plea.
Gionet joined others in chanting, “Patriots are in control!” and “Who owns the house?” Our house!” Before leaving, he rudely called a police officer an “oath breaker,” the FBI said.
Federal authorities used Gionet’s video to prosecute other rioters, including three New York men. Antonio Ferrigno, Francis Connor and Anton Lunyk pleaded guilty in April to charges related to the riots. Gionet’s livestream showed them in Sen. Jeff Merkley’s office, according to court documents accompanying their plea agreements.
Gionet worked at BuzzFeed before using social media to build an online following in far-right political circles. Defense attorney Zachary Thornley said Gionet “has been in the press for a long time.”
“His actions on the day many people entered the Capitol were nothing short of what he always did. He filmed it. That’s what he does,” Thornley written in a court filing last year.
Prosecutors disputed Gionet’s claim that he is a member of the news media.
Gionet has become known for posting videos in which he attempts to prank or troll his targets. He also has a history of promoting far-right extremism. He was due to speak at the white nationalist ‘Unite the Right’ rally in 2017 before it broke out in violence on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Mainstream internet platforms, including Twitter, suspended Gionet’s accounts by January 6. At the Capitol, he was streaming live video using a fringe service called DLive.
Other Capitol Riot defendants claimed they were acting as journalists, not insurgents.
Infowars host Jonathan Owen Shroyer asked a judge to dismiss his riot charges. Shroyer’s attorney argues that the Justice Department is suing him for his “constitutionally protected rights to protest, speak freely and report the news.” Prosecutors counter that the First Amendment does not protect Shroyer’s conduct on Capitol Hill.
Gionet, who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, was arrested in Houston less than two weeks after the riot. He moved from Arizona to Florida after his arrest.
In January, Gionet was sentenced to 30 days in jail for misdemeanor convictions stemming from a December 2020 encounter in which authorities said he fired pepper spray at a Scottsdale bar worker. , Arizona.
Gionet’s plea deal includes a provision allowing investigators to review one of his social media accounts for posts at the time of the Capitol Riot.